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The Debt to Pleasure

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Last year at a conference I was reading aloud what I hope will one day be the opening of my next published novel when a well spoken young academic suggested I read John Lancaster's The Debt to Pleasure. Maybe it was the hint of ego in my narrator, or a suggestion of his unreliability. There is certainly nothing culinary or sinister about my own manuscript. I took up the suggestion, none the less -- listening to others is a trick of the trade I've learnt rather later than most. 
Let us start with the novel's epigraph by Bertrand Russell: ‘My German engineer was very argumentative and tiresome. He wouldn’t admit that it was certain that there was not a rhinoceros in the room.’ Now turn the page to the ‘Preface, Acknowledgement and a Note on Structure’ where author/narrator Tarquin Winot writes (in tiresome fashion): ‘This is not a conventional cookbook. Though I should straight away attach a disclaimer to my disclaimer and say that I have nothing but the highest regard for t…