French Fried: one man's move to France with too many animals and an identity thief * New York Times bestseller *
Animals behaving badly, other people's misfortunes and the most bizarre true crime story ever. French Fried is the unfortunately true account of Chris Dolley’s first eight months in France and has been described as ‘A Year in Provence with Miss Marple and Gerald Durrell.’
Moving house with three cats, two horses and an enormous puppy is fraught at the best of times. But during a storm? Within ten minutes of Chris and Shelagh landing in France a gust of wind rips the roof off their horse transporter and they and their animals are left on a cliff top while a replacement horsebox is sent for from England. From then on it gets worse.
Their new home has no heating or hot water. The plumber prefers to use the outside wall rather than any of the five toilets dotted around the house, and the police have just placed their car under house arrest.
Just when they think nothing more could possibly go wrong, they discover that Chris’s identity has been stolen and their life savings – all the money from their house sale in England that was going to finance their new life in France – had disappeared. A bank account had been opened in Chris’s name in Spain to take the proceeds.
Then they’re abandoned by the police forces of four countries who all insist the crime belongs in someone else's jurisdiction. The French say it’s an Irish crime as that’s where the money was held. The Irish say it’s French as that’s where all the correspondence came from. The British say it’s nothing to do with them even though forged British passports were used to open the bank account in Spain. And the Spanish are on holiday – and can’t even think about investigating any bank account for at least four weeks.
So Chris has to solve the crime himself. But unlike fictional detectives he has an 80 year-old mother-in-law and an excitable puppy who insist they come along if he's going anywhere interesting - like a stakeout.
"This was a fantastic read. It had me laughing so much that I nearly got relegated to the sofa! Once I had started reading this book, I could not put it down, I was even quite happy to miss my favourite T.V programmes!" - Bookmarked
"When I downloaded this book this morning, I had every intention of putting it on my phone and reading it in dribs and drabs. And now I appear to have finished the book! The best thing about 'French Fried' is it's sense of humour; warm, self-deprecating, and very British. Literally laugh out loud in several places (I'm glad I'm the only one home!)." - Librarything
"Chris Dolley's humour reminds me of James Herriot at times, with my husband shushing me in the middle of the night. I could not put this book down and enjoyed it immensely. The characters, especially Nan, were life-size." - Salammi