This novel is something a little different for me. It is a satire set in the UK at the present moment. There are striking parallels between these days and the 1930s. There’s a lot of racist people around who are crawling out of the woodwork as they have been encouraged by the implications of the Brexit vote.

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“Thank you for your decisiveness, Tomcat,” said Stark taking the transmitter before heading towards the lugubrious farm animal who regarded him with great suspicion over a low, stone wall.

“Think nothing of it,” shouted Tompkins, tucking the au pair under his arm, “which road will the police be using, do you think?”

“Tomcat, use the coast road and you will be able to avoid them – they will be coming on the inland road and will be here in about two minutes. Best be gone.”

“Roger and out, just tell the boys in blue that the au pair has gone out for the day as the rest of the family has left for town. Don’t mention having sex with her, either. Climb up the drainpipe, unlock the door from the inside, and put her underwear in a drawer or something, otherwise that will be suspicious. Send a pigeon and let me know what goes on.”

“Right, Tomcat,” said Stalky to himself, “and bon voyage.”

Tompkins loped to the Jaguar, put the au pair in the boot as well as his box of tricks, and then drove off towards the coast, hoping the police were coming from the other direction. Tompkins surmised that he might be being followed now, so he drove carefully around a few housing estates, and cul-de-sacs, and soon spotted a brown VW Golf containing two suspicious people who didn’t make eye contact when Tompkins did a U-Turn in the middle of the local high street.

As the lights were in his favour, Tompkins put his foot down and hurtled towards the old docks five miles away, where his contacts would hopefully be. He didn’t see anyone following him as he raced past the small road he needed to take. Up ahead there was a vantage point where he could observe the junction. The mist was settling in for the evening and Tompkins could hear the waves gently lapping on the shore, with a regularity that Tompkins thought of as the heartbeat of the ocean. He looked at his watch and realised he was early, so he waited to see who would visit the remote spot with a road that appeared to go nowhere other than the bottom of the sea.