By PETER CHAMBERLAIN (A. Barker, 7’6) Book Review THE motoring bookshelf now occupies a very respectable space, if not amounting to that needed for aeronautical literature. Nevertheless, we have not reviewed all the works of fiction which have appeared of recent years, with a bearing on motor-racing matters, deeming the majority of our readers to be above most of this sort of writing. However, Peter Chamberlain’s “Sing Holiday” is an exception, for which the rule may be broken. Our attention was drawn to it by Tommy Wisdom’s comments in the Daily Herald, in which he portrayed the book as a spirited reflection on the behaviour of racing motorists and their associates. Accordingly we applied for a review copy and have now got through its 431 pages. This novel concerns a Mr. Matthews, who spends a holiday in the I.O.M. and finds that the extremely boisterous motor-racing folk with whom he gets entangled are not altogether repulsive, though very puzzling, to his ” Victorian ” outlook. We doubt whether less ” Victorian ” readers will feel the same sympathy for this behaviour that is so admirably and racily described. This is a glorious satire on motor-racing in general, ” boni,” preparation, pressreports, prize-giving and private lives inclusive. The writer obviously knows the game thoroughly and has given a stirring and technically accurate description of a real Grand Prix race in the I.O.M., organised by the “British Automobile Federation,” who are credited with the foresight of organising such a contest, and won by what would clearly be Auto-Union if the makes competing were not disguised. For motor-racing
readers an excellent emphasis is placed on the apathy of the British Trade towards racing. “Sing Holiday” may be written down as an up-to-the-minute, amusing novel, ideal as part of a holiday tonic, and containing breathless expressions and slang quotations to delight any youngster of the requisite age. So far as the behaviour of racing folk is concerned, a lot of people seem inclined to agree that at least some of Peter Chamberlain’s pen-pictures are true to life. Fortunately the generally light treatment and fantastic vein of the book will not permit it to be taken very seriously. If H. G. Wells or John Galsworthy had seen fit to portray a night or two in a Manx hotel on the eve of a big motor-race we might not feel so complaisant. Or might we ? At all events,
Sing Holiday” should be read, as much for what is between the lines as for what the author intends to be a good-seller amongst a wide variety of not very high-brow readers.