Monday, 13 August 2018

‘THE SISTERS’ BY PAT BOOTH




I was very surprised to find out that ‘60s UK model turned novelist Pat Booth succumbed to lung cancer in 2009 at the young age of 66. The passing of Jackie Collins in 2015 made me realize that glam fiction writers had literally been dropping like flies. OK I may exaggerate quite a bit but when you start thinking about it, my affirmation is not that farfetched: Collins, Robbins, Sheldon, Booth, not to mention Harlequin favorite Penny Jordan, and more recently Sally Beauman. Oh, and let’s not forget THE FIRST WIVES CLUB Olivia Goldsmith who died in 2004 from complications related to anesthesia. The wheels are turning, my friends, and before you know it, it’s your turn to get off the merry-go-round. Depressing thought, isn’t it?

But let’s talk about Pat Booth’s THE SISTERS (1988, Ballantine), a much better topic. I read this one in the early ‘90s when I was knee deep into my trash period. I wanted to read another Collins but since I was already up to date on her backlist, I had no choice but to settle on Booth. Not that Booth is lightweight, but compared to the queen of racy fiction, she’s definitely second-rate. Nonetheless, THE SISTERS is a delightful little roman-à-clef involving two sisters vying for the same man. Both are celebrities. One is a renowned actress, the other a bestselling author. When a shot from a handgun is heard during the filming of a much-publicized mini-series, suffice to say, all hell breaks loose. Who was it aimed at? Was it one of the sis?  You’ll have to be patient to find out as the story reverts back in time to focus on the tumultuous relationship between those siblings. Attacking lesbians, incarceration in Looney bins, porn—nothing is spared for our spotlight girls. Pat Booth delivers a worthy grade-B novel whose main subjects clearly reminds the readers of two real legendary Hollywood sisters, Joan and Jackie Collins.

Let’s just hope they are nothing like these two central characters because if they are—were—what a pain in the you-know-where they turn(ed) out to be. True or not THE SISTERS makes fun of these two with a relish and delivers an enchanting if flawed little novel. The narrative is rich but does appear somewhat clunky at times, though I have certainly read worse (and kudos to the author for forever trying to impress). None of Pat Booth novels have reached the digital market. My guess is that they eventually will. If not, well, you can always get them via Amazon for a few bucks—that is if you’re like me, always on the lookout for other glitz and glam efforts à la Collins, like THE SISTERS here.

  

Until next post—Martin 

US Hardcover Edition / Pat Booth