The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin (nee, The Death of Reginald Perrin)

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This was where Reggie started. For anyone who doesn't know, Reginald Iolanthe Perrin (RIP) is a middle class, middle management, middle of the road man - with issues. He's stuck in a depressingly pointless job working for Sunshine Desserts, with depressing work colleagues (well except maybe his secretary, Joan) and he is going slowly mad.

This book was the first incarnation of Reggie. It was soon made into a TV series staring Leonard Rossiter & much more recently a TV series staring Martin Clunes. I shall ignore the latter series & make comparative reference only to Rossiters Reggie. The book is a little darker than the series with allusions to more underlying sexual tension than was present in the TV adaptation, most especially an incestuous relationship between Reggie's daughter & his brother-in-law.

To be honest I didn't find this book as funny as the original series, although most of the scenes are similar they aren't played quite for the laughs the series was, sure it's funny but there is more darkness here, which I found rather compelling. I couldn't quite picture Rossiter as the book Reggie, but most of the other characters in there were almost bang on (I wonder what I would have made of the series all those years ago if I'd only just read this novel).

This was originally published as “The Death of Reginald Perrin”, perhaps that's a bit of a give away, but Reggie does attend his own funeral at one point, so all may not be as it seems. The following two novels were written with a TV series (& Rossiter) in mind, so they may come across in a rather different light to this first one. I have “The Return of Reginald Perrin” sitting on the self already & I shall certainly be attacking that one at some point in the near future.