Jilly Cooper's educational sexploits novel Wicked! (about liaisons of various kinds between an independent and a comp) is a forbidding 800 pages, eight of them acknowledgments. Mrs Cooper's research has been tireless as usual and there are name-checks for 22 past and present headteachers, four heads' wives and one head's husband. She has supplied a cast list, so that on publication in May (Bantam Press) the schools who allowed her through the door can speculate on whether their staffrooms inspired Cara Sharpe ("fearsome head of English and drama") or Vicky Fairchild ("two-faced but both of them extremely pretty"). The lovingly created animal characters get their own list, and somewhere is the original for Partner, the ginger and white mongrel that belongs to the "pretty tasty" heroine headteacher Janna.
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