Colonel Hilton, aka Uncle Jack, lives in Mount Jewel, the fourth biggest house in Ireland, with his nephew and heir David and a collection of sporadically paid servants. Enraged by the appointment of a lady vicar, he attempts to burn down her bungalow and is put into Silver Meadows, an up-market nursing home. The nursing home is run by the imperious and bossy Mrs Freebody and is filled with ancient and difficult women. He is eventually sacked for bad behaviour and returns to Mount Jewel with his scheming Filipina nurse Maria. A number of shifty characters, including O’Shea the doctor, Crowley the undertaker, Massey who looks after the horses, and Hennessy the lawyer make up part of the cast.

Uncle Jack is an extremely funny, occasionally sad novel about the inevitable advance of old age.


Peter Somerville-Large was born in Dublin in 1928 and was educated at St Columba’s College and Trinity College Dublin. His first job in Afghanistan was followed by a spell of travel in Asia during the early nineteen-fifties. Early travel books were on Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan. His books include The Coast of West Cork, The Grand Irish Tour, Cappaghglass, short-listed for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize, and To the Navel of the World, describing a journey to Western Tibet. He has also written four thrillers, and a number of short stories, including two prize winners. His most recent book was the highly-praised comic novel, Mixed Blessings (Somerville Press). He lives in Co. Carlow with his wife Gillian.


A splendid book, which I greatly enjoyed, page after page.’  William Trevor
Wonderfully entertaining novel.’ Spectator
splendid and highly recommended.’ Irish Independent
An unsettling backwards look at late-Ascendancy living, tinged with rural macabre, this should entertain readers across generations.’  Sunday Times
Wonderfully evocative detail, smoothly paced, very funny – right up there with William Trevor and Molly Keane in the same decline and Fall of the Ascendancy genre.’ Joseph Hone
Outrageous jokes, very elegantly written and very funny.’ Alannah Hopkin

‘Somerville-Large’s elegant prose sparkles to the very end, keeping the reader constantly entertained’.   Alannah Hopkin. Irish Examiner.



ISBN: 978 0 9955239 06
Paperback with flaps

11 October 2016
Somerville Press