My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Plaster Scene is Michael J Holley’s second novel and, after reading this one, I want to get my hands on the first one as soon as possible! This story moves between the heady, drug-fuelled days of the sixties in North Wales, via the less-relaxed seventies, to monotonous, modern day, middle class Cheshire in North-West England; and between the multiple viewpoints of its various protagonists. Back in the sixties, Celia has dropped out and fully tuned in to all that is fun, racy, radical and subversive during those times; but in the modern day, she is an elderly lady, with awful relatives, who, due to lack of other options, has to leave her useless nephew, Henry, a cryptic message about his supposed inheritance. Henry’s domineering wife, Claudia, hatches a not-very-fool proof plan to claim what is theirs, roping in quarter-life crisis sufferer, George Spencer, and launching the three of them on what proves to be an ill-fated but unforgettable quest across the north of England and Wales.
Michael J Holley has created an extremely funny tale in Plaster Scene, and it works well as a modern, British screwball comedy. The multiple strands of the story collide in perfect farcical fashion and the plot is well designed and executed. The writing is witty, and includes many genuinely laugh out loud moments, and each brilliantly bonkers character is fully three-dimensional and well described. George, Coral and Henry are very sympathetically drawn (Claudia is most decidedly not so!) and the supporting cast of Simms, Horatio, Cornelius and Bronwyn all play their part in making this a very enjoyable and highly recommended book. Reviewed by Julia for Readers’ Favorite.