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Cook, David

walter paul boy

(British, 1940– )

Cook left school at 15, and worked as an actor before turning to writing novels and television drama. Begin with Walter (1978) which follows the conception and life of a young mentally handicapped boy in a Lancashire town in the 1930s. Walter's mother's point of view is movingly (but never sentimentally) rendered, from the courage and determination it takes to coax her abused husband into making love with her, to her desperation at the hopelessness of the resulting child, and her wretched attempt to kill him. The book is very good on the narrow-minded hypocrisy of the time. Sunrising (1984) is set in the 1830s, in the rural Midlands where people are rioting against enclosures of common land, and in the teeming slums of London. Second Best (1991) brings together a single man who wants to adopt a son, and a boy who needs a father. Lighter and more humorous in tone, Missing Persons (1986) is the first of the Hetty Wainthropp books, about the doughty old-age pensioner who becomes a private investigator—televised with Patricia Routledge in the title role.

Paul Bailey, Bernard MacLaverty, Paul Sayer  JR

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