Skios: Tale of bumbling Brits abroad

Michael Frayn's amusing novel is set in a Greek beach resort catering for the intelligentsia.

Michael Frayn
Faber and Faber
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Skios is the Greek island locale of the renowned Fred Toppler Foundation, an organisation intent on the preservation of "civilised" culture, as well as being part academic retreat and part high-end resort, regularly playing host to an array of intellectual guests.

But it's one particular visitor that puts Nikki Hook, the foundation's ever-stressed administrative assistant, firmly into a spin. Dr Norman Wilfred, an eminent academic, has been scheduled to deliver a lecture at the organisation's annual dinner and Nikki can't risk any slip-ups, especially as her career prospects appear to be hanging by a thread.

Everything looks set to fall into place with the arrival of a surprisingly dapper and good-looking doctor at the airport. Except, all is not what it seems. Not that this case of mistaken identity bothers the "fake" doctor, especially as he quickly warms to Nikki's company. But where is Wilfred in all of this?

While essentially another tale of bumbling Brits abroad, Frayn manages to inject enough of his brand of clever humour into his pages to let the good times roll in.