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Monday, 25 May 2015

Behind The Text’ 27 The Unloved

Behind The Text’ Part 27_ The Unloved

NOT Some Of My Favourite Things

In the pages of the 'Jonas Forbes Saga' the Reader will soon identify certain categories or types of people who become targets for mockery or dislike. I should stress that such are what I ASSUME somebody like Jonas Forbes would label.

Bureaucracy is an open target and falls into three distinct divisions: UK Government Departments, UK Embassy staff & Foreign Governments

The UK Government has its own way of conducting business, possibly slow, somewhat pedantic but orderly, annotated and controlled by rules. Just the institution to arouse the irritation (rising to fury) and disrespect (sinking to disdain) of the scatter-gun, anarchic (if not anomic) approach of Jonas
Forbes. Only in Book 16 does he supply timely reports –  after a lengthy disappearance, a frequent feature (voluntary or not) in these tales (see Books 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15 & 16)
With Whitehall this situation is aggravated by the instant hostility of Sir Jeremy Smith (see Books 2 & 3), passed on within Whitehall (e.g. Book 5) and overseas (e.g. Books 4 & 8)

Embassies appear as somewhat  of a backwater where lesser mortals slink away their years to retirement on personal obsessions (e.g. Sir Marmaduke Trelawney in Book 4) or spite (e.g. Seymour Dudley in Book 15) or simple ennui (e.g. Miles Upshawe in Book 13). Of course, Jonas only wants Embassy staff to jump when he cracks the whip – not exactly realistic.
Foreign Governments & their Agencies also are stigmatised. I've intruded rivalry bordering on comic relief for the Soviet KGB & GRU systems for narrative purposes. The CIA, FBI, MPD & SFPD (see Books 16 & 14) are targets because they try to control Jonas or insist on his obeying their own rules.

There are exceptions to the above – the awe-inspiring Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick & the astute Sir Dick White (Book 3 etc.) & Tim Ripley, of course, in several books. Overseas there might be David Wilson (Book 5), Arthur Duncan Collingwood (Book 16), Steven Bradford-White (Book 14) and Superintendent Kemdirim (Book 15). However, such models are few and far between.
Another group throwing themselves open to mockery or contempt are criminals. Naturally, there’s the Mafia, both in the USA (Books 14 & 16) and in Italy (Book 5). Jonas doesn’t really converse with any ‘wise guys’ as much as dispatch them with contempt (e.g. Miceli in Book 16). London gangs are different – see the exchanges with Laurence ‘Chopper’ Simpson (Book 9),  Marty (Book 11), Archie Morrison (Book 12) and Freddie Herbert & ‘Crazy Charlie’ Carter (Book 14).

There are more but the above should be enough for the Reader to realise Jonas may not agree with the character who ‘...plays no favourites and hates just about everyone’  (Book 14 ) but he sometimes comes pretty close.
Bob Hyslop

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