Foreword Review — Nov / Dec 1999
When playwright Richard Charteris and his much younger lover, “Bless,” arrive in the staid English country village of Bellingford, their hope is for a life of domestic bliss. Very much in love, the two men have no idea that their purchase of the venerable Hall House is causing consternation among the “locals,” who imagine that their village will never again be the same.
Bellingford, a bucolic English village, is a place where all the houses have names and all the villagers have secrets, which are always kept behind closed doors and the obligatory lace curtains. When the “two gentlemen sharing,” with their London theatre-world habits and ways, encounter the attitudes and mores of the villagers the result is a volatile mix that not only results in a rollicking good time and considerable suspense, but guarantees that the one thing the “locals” fear most, change, is about to happen.
Corlett writes with dry British humor in a manner that immediately engages the reader. His vivid, skillfully painted word pictures and sassy dialogue would easily translate to television or the stage. Corlett has already had much success writing for television and the theatre for
children and adults and was winner of the “Children’s TV Writer of the Year” award presented by Britain’s Writer’s Guild. His first adult novel won the Dillons First Fiction Award.
Two Gentlemen Sharing has as much to say about the hypocrisy and posturing inherent in much social interaction as it has to offer in the way of entertainment, but Corlett’s social commentary goes down easily with a good dose of laughter. A set of intertwined mysteries, local gossip and characters (including a homophobic, cross-dressing, retired brigadier; the vicar of St. Michael’s with his inner torment and doubt and the Italian lesbian biker who is really a countess looking for the love of her life) who are colorful to the point of being outrageous, play out a riotous conclusion in which the “two gentlemen sharing” are seen to be not only among the more “normal” of Bellingford’s inhabitants, but welcome members of a community that has learned much about itself, the world outside it’s walls, and the compassion needed to live in such a world.