Books of the Year 1984

Round Up The Usual Disclaimers by Derek Doubtful and Gene Careful.
This is possibly the best book published in 1984. It is, however, possibly not. The book details the controversial events surrounding the Rocky Murphy case, in which Rocky served seven years in jail for crimes which he claimed he did not commit. The book describes how Rocky went into his local garda station to report that his bike had been stolen. Forty-four hours later he signed a confession admitting the murder of Michael Collins, the raid on the magazine fort, the sinking of the Lusitania , the theft of two Mars Bars from Woolworths, eating meat on Fridays, and using four condoms without a licence.

While presenting the substantial evidence that Murphy was kicked around the garda station like a football, Doubtful and Careful are at pains to give the garda side of the story - that Murphy was so overcome by their sunny personalities that he felt he had to confess; and that, in a fit of remorse and repentance, he then banged his head against a wall and threw himself down the stairs. Or didn't.

Doubtful and Careful aggressively, but with great restraint, point out the crucial importance of the occurrances at 4.32pm on April 7, not to mention the consequences at 8.37pm when the significance of the blue jacket were finally understood. Or not.

Altogether, a fine book. Probably.

Bland Justice by James Joyce and Peter Herewegoagain. This is undoubtedly the best book written about the Rocky Murphy case since "Round Up The Usual Disclaimers". With great skill, Joyce and Herewegoagain describe how Murphy went to his local garda station to report that zzzzzzzzzzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzz and threw himself down the stairs. Once again we read how the three detonators had just about exploded under the train when Detective Inspector Knuckle Crunch zzzzzzzzzsnortzzzz zzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzChristmas market.

Who Cares? The Influenza 1000 by Maureen Caimfluff.

It was while recovering from a nasty dose of flue that Mo (as she likes to be called) Cairnfluff got the fascinating idea of compiling a book which would contain the names of a thousand people who had also caught the dreaded illness

at one time or another. Thus, the Influenza 1000. Mo , well known for her bottle parties, had noticed how, during the long silences which pepper her embarrassing get-togethers of people who can get no one else to drink with them, someone would often say, "I'd an awful touch of flu last week," or even, "I think there's a touch of flu going round." It was but the work of a moment to run up a list of the similarly afflicted. My favourite part of this simply marvellous book is the entry for well-known model Marti Plitz , who says she is "only smothering" . Book of the year.

Operation Bogus by Major Ballsup.

What do the flagpole at the British Embassy, a car accident in Tipperary, a torn seat at the back of the 64a, a dead pigeon in Martin O'Donoghue's trousers, the collapse of the

Mirabeau, the assassination attempt on the Pope, an empty cigarette packet found in the glove compartment of a state car, an ice-cream van playing ''The White Cliffs of Dover", and two very live pigeons copulating on the window ledge outside the Minister for Justice's office have to do with Charlie Haughey? That's the question. It's a question which Major Ballsup, the most significant and impressive author to grace our shores since Gordon Thomas, asks in this trillminute book. Would that he gave us the answer. With fine skill the Major unravels the complicated threads wound round the most despicable British plot since the attempt to brand Roger Casement as a gun-runner.

The Lilac Gravy train by Maeve Thingy,

So, anyway, there's this gravy train that - did I tell you it was all lovely and lilac - anyway, every weekend it goes down the country, you know the kind of thing, with all the country cousins going home with their problems. And, so, anyway, there Maeve is sitting in the corner doing her knitting, and she looking like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, and do you know what? What does she have under the knitting but a tape recorder? And here it all is, the story of Nuala, Jimmy, Kathleen, Maurice, Greta, and Adrian, and all their problems and how they all live more or less happily ever after. Except Maeve, who finds that all the money that's rolling in from her stories still doesn't make her happy. Because she has this compulsion to travel endlessly on one bus route after another, on one train after another, her tape recorder forever whirring, a kind of Flying Dutchman with a moneybelt, condemned to wander life's byways in search of nice people with little problems. Isn't it sad? Ah, but, sur~ there you are, isn't that life?