Monday, 20 March 2000

Richard Gordon: The Captain's Table (1954)

Edition: Michael Joseph, 1954
Review number: 456

Richard Gordon's big success was his Doctor series, most famously Doctor in the House. His first attempt to write a non-medical story was The Captain's Table, which I picked up after enjoying the Doctor books in my early teens. It is the story of William Ebbs, for many years captain of a freighter suddenly appointed to the command of his employer's flagship liner. His first cruise, from London to Sydney, is marked by a series of mishaps including quarreling missionaries, attempted seductions, blackmail and the children's party.

Unfortunately, The Captain's Table is dated and unfunny, none of the characters being more than lazy stereotypes. The Doctor series is much better, being based (at least initially) on Gordon's own experiences as a medical student (though I suspect that these too would now seem somewhat dated).

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