When Miss Hazelstone of Jacaranda Park kills her Zulu cook in a sensational crime passionel, the gallant members of the South African police force are soon on the scene: Kommandant van Heerden, whose secret longing for the heart of an English gentleman leads to the most memorable transplant operation yet recorded; Luitenant Verkramp of the Security Branch, ever active in the pursuit of Communist cells; Konstabel Els, with his propensity for shooting first and not thinking later - and also for forcing himself upon African women in a manner legally reserved for male members of their own race.
In the course of the strange events which follow, we encounter some very esoteric perversions when the Kommandant is held captive in Miss Hazelstone's remarkable rubber room; and some even more amazing perversions of justice when Miss Hazelstone's brother, the Bishop of Barotseland, is sentenced to be hanged on the ancient gallows in the local prison.
Not a 'political' novel in any previously imagined sense, Riotous Assembly provided a completely fresh approach to the South African scene - an approach startling in its deadpan savagery and yet also outrageously funny.
Tom Sharpe was born in 1928 and educated at Lancing College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He did his national service in the Marines before moving 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 was awarded the inaugural BBK La Risa de Bilbao Prize. Tom Sharpe died in June 2013 at his home in northern Spain.