Book review: Just the Job, Lad by Mike Pannett

You just can’t beat pounding the beat with Yorkshire bobby turned author Mike Pannett...

Tuesday, 16th August 2011, 7:00 am

His hilarious and heart-warming stories about crime fighting in God’s Own Country have become must reading for an army of fans both at home and abroad.

Full of real-life drama, humorous anecdotes and an addictive brand of Yorkshire wit and wisdom, Pannett injects both eye-opening surprises and some hard-earned home truths into his tales of rural policing.

Just the Job, Lad is his fourth foray into the market towns of North Yorkshire where life and work throw up a mixed bag of challenges whether it’s tracking down drug dealers or locking horns with the hunting brigade.

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Pannett is the kind of bobby who is always on duty,‘an upholder of the law, twenty-four seven, ’so it’s true to form that within hours of returning from a holiday in Cyprus with wife Ann, and before he has had time to clock on again, he is chasing a bunch of thieves down the country lanes.

There is also the pressing matter of a drug dealer who is targeting the towns and villages of Ryedale. It’s a top priority for Pannett who launches an investigation and uncovers nationwide connections.

Meanwhile, news of a proposed ban on hunting with dogs is raising hackles amongst his local friends and contacts, threatening to put him in the firing line.

On the home front at Keeper’s Cottage, wife Ann is eager for Pannett to sit his sergeant’s exams on the grounds that he is ‘unpredictable, slightly mad’ but good at his job... and the money would help them to buy their home instead of renting it.

Domestic bliss, however, cannot be sustained when the cottage roof springs a leak during a thunderstorm ... and the couple have to share their love-nest with their quirky builder Soapy.

But none of this matches the drama of the anti-hunt demo which threatens to stop a train bringing a local MP to town.

With horsemen racing alongside the steam engine, and a protester lying on the tracks, Pannett has to call on all his resources to handle an inflammatory situation with the media looking on.

When will he ever get time to study for those sergeant’s exams?

As always, Pannett manages to perfectly blend the nitty gritty of life on the beat with moments of insight, compassion, humour and touching romance ... and all in a beautiful setting.

Superb entertainment...

(Hodder & Stoughton, paperback, £12.99)