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Peregrine Roderick Clyde-Brown is a bumbling, naive and savagely dim-witted teenager, who, as his name reveals, cannot possibly be exposed to the evils of a comprehensive school. However, with his penchant for taking even the most innocent command literally, no reputable school will accept the boy who, when told that he must turn over a new leaf, begins fondling the foliage.
His parents, with high hopes and a considerable amount of bribery money, search for anywhere that will take their 'late developer.' In a school that time forgot, Peregrine's 'talents' for taking orders and having no discernible individual thought seem perfect for a promising career in the upper ranks of the British Army. It is at Groxbourne that Peregrine meets Mr Gladstone, a man whose teaching style extends as far as using lashings to teach arithmetic. After Gladstone whisks the unquestioning boy off on a hysterical mystery, Peregrine ends up storming a French castle, where he unwaveringly commits mischief, mayhem and even murder!
Tom Sharpe was born in 1928 and educated at Lancing College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He did his national service in the Marines before going 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 received the inaugural BBK La Risa de Bilbao Prize. Tom Sharpe died in June 2013 at his home in northern Spain.