Books - The Merde Factor by Stephen Clarke

Paul West (or ‘Poll Wess’ as his colleagues insist on calling him) is trying his best to survive as an Englishman in Paris.

His patience is put to the test, however, by those seemingly intent on making his life a misery - former boss Jean-Marie, who wants to sell the English tea shop they co-own, ex-girlfriend Alexa, whose presence is causing ructions between Paul and his new girlfriend, and a cantankerous neighbour, whose loud Gallic swearing threatens to disrupt his new business venture.

Some scenarios are so cringeworthy you suspect they may just have happened in real life.

Paul, the outsider in a deeply patriotic nation, is more than believable with his candour and humour.

His unintentionally hilarious sidekick Jake, with his unique X-rated poetry, also provides plenty of laughs. This latest instalment in Stephen Clarke’s series based on Paul’s adventures is like a pain au chocolat by the Seine - light, sweet and just a little bit naughty.

Rating: 7/10