Dinner at the Happy Skeleton by Chris Chalmers @CCsw19



Dan is the kind of gay man for whom the Noughties might have been named. Warm, witty and serially promiscuous, his heart melts at the sight of a chocolate brown Labrador — but with men, it’s a different matter. He’s thirty-nine and as single as ever, not counting the couple he just met online. An arrangement that looks oddly like it’s going somewhere, until Dan gets fired from his job in advertising. With time out and a payoff in his pocket, summer presents a world of possibilities; just as the memories surface of the ex he blames for the thinly-veiled chaos of his life.

From London to Ljubljana, a yen for closure sets Dan on the trail of the man who fed his ego into a shredder. Through an eerie encounter at the home of the Olympiad and a sleepover at the Dutch Embassy, run-ins with a fading porn star and the celestial manifestation of Margaret Thatcher, he ultimately confronts his past. Until, with his Big Four-O rapidly approaching, destiny beckons from where he least expects it.

‘Full of wit, comedy and unflinching honesty … Like reading a gay Nick Hornby. This is clever contemporary fiction at its finest.’ Bleach House Library


Dan is loving, kind and funny but so very unlucky in love. It isn’t that he can’t attract a partner more that he has lost his trust in other men after his last disastrous long-term relationship and so he has adopted a love ’em and leave ’em attitude. Now Dan, single and rapidly approaching 40 wants to get away from the on-line pick up sites  and gay chat rooms, especially when he is made redundant and gets a bit of cash in his pocket. This is his opportunity to travel a little and get his life in order before having to get back into a work routine again. A new start all round.

I just wanted to be part of Dan’s friends group because these were one bunch of the best pick me up cures going, A real mixed bunch that you knew would be there 24 hours a day. There are some hilarious moments that keep it a wonderful light book and not a doom, gloom and woe is me read. I became quite motherly towards Dan and really wanted him to find happiness not a quick temporary fix for loneliness with casual men. He deserved more than that even if he was rubbing shoulders, and more, with some pretty famous men.

They say write about what you know best and the author has done perfectly. The only way to truly move forward is to face your past and to learn to like yourself. If you don’t like yourself you can’t expect anyone else to be able to. I just love those punch in the air moments and I managed a couple in this book. You have to love a book that leaves you with a smile on your face and memories from the story that make you giggle way after you finish reading.

This is a story about the relationships of a gay man, so it may not be for everyone but hopefully for the majority. A super read.



Chris Chalmers

Chris Chalmers arrived unexpectedly following a Beatles’ concert at Southport Floral Hall when his mum was induced by the stomping. His career as a published author began aged six with a poem, Jumbo Jabber, in The Liverpool Echo. The editor, retitling it Elephants Are Our Favourites, gave him a taste of the collaborative process that was to play a major role in his subsequent career in advertising.

After many years and a few awards creating campaigns at top London agencies for everything from The Economist to ballet shoes, Chris took the plunge into the world of contemporary fiction. His first published novel, Five To One, is now available with further titles for adults and children to follow.

He lives in South-West London with his partner, a quite famous concert pianist. Chris was once the understudy on Mastermind, has travelled to 40 different countries, and swum with iguanas. He’s written a diary for 41 years and never missed a night.

Twitter: CCsw19


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