Hiding in a Rotorua bookstore last Wednesday – coward that I am – while the troops were performing the curious female ‘shopping’ ritual, and leafing through the tomes on display I happened upon this passage:

“Ross Hayton is a jovial, bearded physician who has done so many colonoscopies in his life that if the lengths of bowel he had inspected were laid end to end, the glistening, pink tube would easily stretch around the planet. Maybe even more than once. I often wondered how he kept his unflagging good humour despite day after day spent stooped and peering down the endoscope deeply embedded in a procession of strange backsides. When he came to see us, it must have been a relief to look someone in the eye for a change.”

I suspected the the book was worth the $40 price-tag. And it is.

The author’s a Manawatu pathologist, raised in Southern Africa but resident in New Zealand since the late 1970s. He’s compiled a litany of anecdotes from his career which could easily be too dry, dead (no pun), or technical to cope with but Cynric Temple-Camp’s conversational, matter-of-fact, writing style and sharp wit bring his subjects and his profession to life, whether a decapitated motorcyclist or a maggot-ridden crime scene: “I can’t stand the creatures”.

Get it, read it. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Take it to the beach, the bach, the boat, you can start at any chapter and finish on any page, and learn much: be it ballistics or bacteria. You’ll also be doing good work as the humble and humanitarian Cynric has donated all the proceeds from sales to the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter Service.

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Living in Wellington idbkiwi is self-employed in a non-governmental role which suits his masochistic tendencies. He watches very little television, preferring to read or research, but still subscribes...