Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love By Charles Nevin

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The Independent Culture

With the possible exception of those born in a certain large north-eastern county, everyone with the slightest glimmerings of a sense of humour will adore this book. Nevin's masterly appreciation of Lancashire is composed with the unique combination of delight in the unexpected and buoyant hilarity that marks his contributions to this paper. His title comes from Balzac's novel Le leys dans la vallée, though the historian A J P Taylor thought Lancashire women more likely to say: "Come on, lad, let's get it over." Nevin suggests Lancaster was the real Camelot, Butch Cassidy "almost certainly spoke with a Lancastrian accent" and Napoleon III was inspired to build the grands boulevards of Paris after living in Southport in 1838. "Paris should really be called the Southport of the South," says the Liverpudlian. Nevin interviews the Lancashire toreador Frank Evans and visits the Laurel & Hardy Museum in Ulverston to investigate the urban legend "that Clint Eastwood is Stan's illegitimate son". His book will be appreciated by all except Yorkshiremen, too busy pondering Nevin's broadside - "Forget the 10 famous Belgians; ask a Yorkshireman to name a famous Yorkshire comic" - to absorb the following 300 pages.