Tuesday 24 October 2017

Locals dig deep to identify neighbours in racy novel

Pat McEniff: steamy novel set in two border counties
Pat McEniff: steamy novel set in two border counties

Anita Guidera

A RACY novel set along the Donegal and Fermanagh border is flying off the shelves as locals search for clues to the identity of its characters.

First-time author and retired dentist Pat McEniff from Bundoran, Co Donegal, has whet appetites by revealing that the thriller is loosely based on fact.

McEniff, a brother of hoteliers Sean and Brian, has woven a tale which includes sex, spying and terrorism.

The novel, 'Thelma's People', is for sale so far in just five shops in the neighbouring Donegal towns of Bundoran and Ballyshannon and the town of Belleek just across the border in Co Fermanagh.

The author hopes the book will become a Hollywood movie.

Mr McEniff and his unidentified joint author, 'Marita Mulcahy', claim the fictional book, which puts a senior RUC Protestant officer's wife, Thelma, in bed with a Catholic gravedigger, is "very loosely based on fact".

People in Donegal and Fermanagh are already convinced they can recognise the fictional characters from real-life neighbours.

But Mr McEniff claimed: "none of these people exist except in my imagination".

However, he did admit former Foreign Affairs Minister Dick Spring was represented by a character called Dick Winters and former British premier Margaret Thatcher was Mrs Whicker.

And 'Big Jim' in the book is recognised by many as a Co Donegal republican.

But it's not the politics and spying in the book that's the talk of Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Belleek.

What everybody is doing is trying to identify Thelma and her gravedigger lover Patrick Maguire and lovers Heather Elliott and Gilbert Watson.

Thelma cheats on her RUC assistant commissioner husband in a graphically described affair.

In the other love affair, Heather and Gilbert have a steamy encounter in a car.

Only 1,000 copies of the book were printed and in just over a week more than 300 copies were sold.

Mr McEniff claimed there was more sex in the tabloid newspapers every day than in his book.

He said Easons were reading 'Thelma's People' before making a decision on whether to stock it.

Irish Independent

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