Published: 01/06/2012
eISBN: 9781780888767
Format: eBook



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Born in the heart of London’s docklands, John lived a fascinating and untroubled childhood for eight years before Hitler’s bombers arrived to destroy the old world of the East End and force his family... read more

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A Little Bit on the Side
by John W O' Sullivan

Disaffected with his profession and city life, Jack Manning is seeking only contentment and the good life when he settles with Kate, his wife, on Barton Hill in remotest Shropshire. He finds himself instead cold-shouldered by a suspicious, rural community where news of his occupation (taxman) has preceded him, and where all around him are chasing a little bit on the side.

Farmers are fiddling taxmen, husbands are cheating on wives, and in remote rustic distilleries Customs and Excise are robbed of their due. Only the eccentric vicar and the Gillans offer a welcome, but with their help, with Jack’s lucky identification for a villager of a signed first edition by Churchill, and his drunken anti-Revenue rant in the Shagger, the village pub, the Mannings win acceptance.

Content to turn a blind eye to the local minor misdemeanours, Jack is, however, faced with the ultimate personal temptation when the local politician offers him a bribe to destroy evidence of his serious criminal tax fraud. Jack sees before him a unique and risk-free opportunity to enrich himself instead of the Treasury. The offer is tempting and substantial. Should he take the money and run, or is the whole operation too risky?

Absorbed with this dilemma, Jack is blind to Kate’s discontent with their marriage, and eventually she leaves him with a revealing ‘Dear John’ letter. But nearby, in the sleepy town of Barlow, Jack will find the beautiful Josie waiting to pleasure and comfort him, and the provocatively erotic activities of the ‘frail ladies’ of Eastgate Villa to tax his professional skills.

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Reviews of John’s Earlier Book: Long Ago and Far Away
Based on family letters, recollections and newspaper reports, the book traced his family’s history during the 1930’s depression and the years of the second world war.

‘Few first-hand accounts of this migration process,’ (from the East End to Essex) ‘are more compelling than those of John O’Sullivan. He is a natural writer, and you can see why his description of life in the 1930’s was snapped up by a publisher . . . Many accounts have been written about the Essex plotlands: John’s loving, but warts-and-all recollection, is perhaps the most evocative.’
Tom King: Essex Echo

‘A wonderfully vivid evocation of its time. I will place it in the university library as a useful source for students . . . I am uplifted by the thought that our students don’t just study history, but make and record it.’
Mark Galeotti: Head of History, Keele University

‘Completely vivid . . .a book to treasure for all those who can remember those years and for those who are interested in recent British Social History.’
Deborah Knox: Shropshire Star

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