Though as cunning as ever, the formidable Skullion - previously head porter, now elevated to Master - is showing signs of physical frailty after his stroke. So the tricky business of appointing a new Master must start all over again. Meanwhile the College's monstrous debts refuse to go away, and a sinister American media mogul seems determined to make a television documentary on the premises, destroying part of the chapel in the process. Moreover, the widow of the previous Master is convinced that her husband was murdered, so she plants an agent in the Senior Common Room to dig up an unpleasant truth that everyone else would prefer kept under the carpet. Faced with such continuing crises, the instinct of the true Porterhouse man is to reach for the bottle- or to fall back on the subtle and traditional Cambridge skills of blackmail and kidnap. But will those be enough?
Tom Sharpe was born in 1928 and educated at Lancing College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He did his national service in the Marines before moving to South Africa in 1951, where he did social work before teaching in Natal. He had a photographic studio in Pietermaritzburg from 1957 until 1961, and from 1963 to 1972 he was a lecturer in History at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. He is the author of sixteen bestselling novels, including Porterhouse Blue and Blott on the Landscape, which were serialised on television, and Wilt, which was made into a film. In 1986 he was awarded the XXIIIeme Grand Prix de l'Humour Noir Xavier Forneret, and in 2010 he was awarded the inaugural BBK La Risa de Bilbao Prize. Tom Sharpe died in June 2013 at his home in northern Spain.