The Show-Me State

Lloyd Rees
Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 23, 1995
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When Arthur Noone arrives at South Missouri State University to research American usage of English, words almost fail to describe the fix in which he finds himself. Bored with academe and escaping a broken marriage, the weak-willed Arthur is desperate to have a good time with American beer and women. In a fruitless wait for a new woman friend he unwittingly witnesses a gang murder of the wrong man. As the truth slowly dawns on innocent Arthur, and with the gang and the police on his trail, he turns detective to save himself from a spell in jail, or the morgue.

In a story with more near misses, mistaken identities and wordplay than a Shakespeare comedy, Noone finds an all too real subject for the public lecture he is to give at the University. Can he escape the hitmen? Can he allay the suspicions of Missouri’s Finest? Will the glacial Elsa even realise he exists? Just how friendly does temporary colleague Burton plan to get? And could a lecture on the metalanguage of English description ever be interesting? Lloyd Rees’ witty and humorous novel keeps the tension on as the linguistic accidents threaten to envelop Arthur.

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