Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find

11th May 2017 — 25 Comments

I blogged about John Brassey, metal detectorist and author, on the occasion of his first novel in 2014. You can read about it HERE.

The good news, three years later, is that John has produced a super second novel entitled  Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find, which is perhaps funnier than the first and of such good quality that I was unable to put it down for long periods. I was literally ‘gripped’ by the story.

The book is about retired bank clerk Dave Prendergast who makes the find of a lifetime on eBay. Sounds a rather mundane a subject for a comic novel, but don’t be misled. There’s a lot of intrigue and romance to keep everybody interested, especially middle-aged detectorists and venerable readers like me.

“As the auction clock runs down, all that stands between Dave and the highlife are rival bidders, his conscience … and a big pile of ironing, ” so declares the blurb on the back cover of the book. This is only a hint of what the reader will go on to eventually discover.

I suspect that a lot of what John talks about in the book is based on his own life and experiences … with some artistic licence, of course! I was also able to relate to his exploits, especially re dabbling on eBay, family strife … and metal detecting, a subject that makes an appearance early on in the novel.

In chapter six John relates how an expensive hearing aid was lost on the beach, but was subsequently found by a helpful detectorist wielding an XP Deus, “the Merc of metal detectors” and “infallible for ( discovering ) tiny finds”. I guarantee that the author owns a Deus. What I can’t be sure of is if any money passed hands for the product placement. I guess not.

Protagonist Dave suffers from a prostate problem and tries to ensure that he’s near a loo at all times. I know the feeling. I advise you to do the same because when reading this novel, you are likely to piddle yourself laughing!

My engrossment and total immersion in the tale was somewhat enhanced by the frequent mentions and allusions to all things ‘English,’ but I wonder if references to the Mitchell brothers, Jasper Carrot, Radio 2, John Lewis, Radio Times, Pointless, Deal or No Deal, Waitrose, and many others would just baffle some readers. What would they make of the fact that Maria knew that Simon would have enjoyed more coffee, but she gave him a Hobnob instead!

In mitigation there are plenty of allusions that would be understood by all readers. MacBook Pro, Armani, Billy Connelly and Ikea are just a few examples.

I particularly liked the disclaimer from John’s wife that she bore no resemblance to Dave’s spouse in the novel and asked John to point out that, “…. my wonderful wife Marion bears no resemblance whatsoever to Shelia (apart from being extremely attractive of course).”

Courtesy of John Brassey

Yes, the book made me laugh on many occasions, and that’s no mean feat. John is to be congratulated on that. The novel is fun, evocative and I enjoyed reading it immensely. The characters were real; the story kept me guessing. And I learnt a few things too – like how to reduce the divorce rate by half by asking guys to adopt a simple technique! You’ve got to read it!

If you are familiar with field tests of detectors in magazines, they often give a numerical score out of ten. My score for John’s second novel is the maximum I can give, and that’s a resounding ten out of ten.

I repeat what I said the first time around, “How refreshing it is to feature John and his accomplishments in my blog. In some circles inhabited mainly by our malicious detractors, all metal detectorists are viewed as ignorant, rough, and bad-mannered louts. Like many others of our ilk, John disproves that erroneous perception. I wonder if the most vociferous amongst them can put a negative spin on this blog post?

Product details for Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find can be seen by clicking HERE


If you’d like a signed copy of John’s second book, please take part in my easy competition. John has kindly offered one as a prize for this challenge

Susie is looking for her grandfather’s hearing aid (the children call it a ‘mousie) that’s been lost in the sand, when she is approached by a metal detectorist. First, read the extract below, then I’ll give instructions on what you have to do.

This competition is open to UK members only. All you have to do is to imagine that you are the detectorist in the novel and you post about the incident on FB or a detecting forum to which you belong. Your effort will be relatively short, but interesting (and perhaps funny) to read. Send your account of finding the hearing aid to me at with a title of your own choosing. 

In the unlikely event of a deluge of entries I’ll ask Mrs. John to choose her favourites, from which I will choose a winner. Good luck! Closing date is the end of Thursday 25 May.


UPDATE MAY 2017 – Man who found ‘richest’ Viking hoard in the UK to get £2m award

See the original post HERE



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25 responses to Mr. Prendergast’s Fantastic Find

  1. Many thanks for those kind words John

    I’m just starting the next one. It may well pick up from the lost hearing aid scene.

    • John – I hope that my enthusiasm for your writing came across.
      This is the most entertaining book I’ve read in the last four months!

  2. It sounds like a very riveting read and I will look forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book.

    If it’s something that can make you smile John, then I’m definitely up for a good read.

    Well done to John Brassey. I will have a crack at the competition and try to win a signed copy.

    • You won’t be disappointed, Les!
      I wasn’t sure whether the little competition would work or not … pleased that you are going to have a go!

  3. I bought a copy after I heard about it. I just started browsing it and found I had read the first three chapters. Brilliant! I had a good laugh ( I need one now and again). I am forcing myself to finish another book before I read any more. Saving it for when I travel this weekend.

  4. “the Merc of metal detectors” and “infallible for ( discovering ) tiny finds” Okay John.. I own a Deus… but what is the ‘Merc of metal detector?”

    A good tale my friend.. I will keep an eye open for the book on this side of the pond

    Best to you


    • Yes. Lost in translation.
      The Mercedes-Benz is a very expensive and highly rated motor vehicle … hence ‘the Deus is the MERC of metal detectors’ …

  5. First competition entry just arrived!

  6. Sounds like a really good book. I was smiling just reading about your piece about it.

  7. had a go at comp looks a good book

  8. John, I have tried several times to post my entry to the competition, but Outlook keeps telling me to correct the address, which is exactly the details saved to my favourites.

  9. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 22nd May 2017 at 5:08 AM

    Whilst I can admit I don’t know all those points you’ve mentioned (being a Canadian and all), I have shopped at a Waitrose, I like Richard Osman on 8 out 0f 10 Cats better, and I love Hobnobs (with milk chocolate I might add), but I get that I will need to read the book with Google handy. LOL……

    I’m going to see about ordering a copy online, thanks for pointing the book out to us.

    • You won’t be disappointed. I read it, in fact I couldn’t put it down, I found it so good that as soon as I had finished I purchased his other book. His other book is totally different but still one that is difficult to put down.

  10. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 23rd May 2017 at 3:32 AM

    Thanks Ian, I just ordered it from Amazon here in Canada.

    I can’t wait to read it now.

    • I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. I cannot guarantee it as I have a very weird sense of humour and find the strangest things funny. Please let me know. It would be nice to know that I may be just a little bit normal.

  11. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 26th May 2017 at 4:03 AM

    My book arrived in the post today at about 2pm, and I went cover to cover already.

    All I can say is “Ian, relax……you’re normal”, I got quite a few chuckles out of it!

    The “Pointless” line was a classic, and made me laugh out loud.

    There were a few other good lines in it, but I don’t want to give anything away to those that haven’t read it yet.

    Thanks for the blog on this John, I don’t think I would have heard about it otherwise!

  12. I just wanted to say a big thank you to John for his kind words in promoting my novel. Prize is in the post.

    If anybody reads and enjoys the book, a very brief review on can really help.

    Thanks again John

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