In the first days of peace after the Second World War, Ian returns to civilian life with his head afire with yet another new business venture. His war was far from heroic; he was for the duration of the conflict confined behind prison bars, moved from London to Cardiff to save him from the Blitz.
Throughout the war his wife lived comparatively serenely on a farm in the Malverns, waiting once more for his return, her belief in his inherent goodness allowing her to give him one last chance to be the ordinary family man he has tried all his life to better. For Ian, his promise to give Bobbie the finest things in life is his greatest failing, the seat of his undoing.
He is a complex and perplexing character. You may not like him. You may have reservations about dedicating a novel to someone with a seemingly natural-born proclivity for lodging at His Majesty’s Pleasure. Yet it is the challenge every author faces, to find or imagine memorable characters and on occasion depict them in an unusual form. Ian is based on a real life character. Indeed his real name is mentioned in the novel, as are many of his aliases. He is naive, honest and innocent in every way but where the law is concerned, hard-working, hapless, loyal and hopelessly stoical in his love for his wife. He makes mistakes but he never attempts to mislead anyone or cause anyone harm. It seems inconceivable that he has a criminal record as long as Brighton Pier.