A Little of What You Fancy.
London: Michael Joseph, 1970.
The last of the five Larkin family novels (and the last Bates novel) is, until more than halfway through, much more serious than any of its predecessors. Pop Larkin's heart attack leads to an uncharacteristic depression; neither the romance of Primrose and Reverend Candy nor Edith Pilchester's drowning of her grief in drink distract from a somberness striking in an otherwise comic series. However, with the Barnwell sisters announcing their fund "for saving England" from a tunnel to France (including a road through the Larkin property), Pop is revived. The remainder of the book, including the obligatory banquet at the end, displays the usual Larkin joy of life and features a particularly delightful character in Angela Snow's father, a Queen's Counsel who charms Ma and the other women. Bates suffered two heart attacks in 1966 and, like Pa, was attended by a "gorgeous New Zealand nurse" (Baldwin, 220). The title comes from the vaudeville song made famous by the Victorian singer Marie Lloyd, "A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good."
Times Literary Supplement (June 4, 1970, p. 601, David F. Williams, attached)
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