In the fictitious advertising agency Miller Shanks nothing ever seems to go to plan. When The Sun picks up a story that Gloria Hunniford has been groped by a client on an film shoot in Mauritius and PAs are making mock suicide attempts back at the office in London you might be tempted to think the firm’s fortunes can only get better. But, as our reviewer Kitty Donaldson reveals, you’d be wrong.

In this book comprised entirely of emails, the modem acts as a modern-day Samuel Pepys as diarist of the minute part of London, that is the advertising agency, Miller Shanks. This is a light-hearted and witty diary of contemporary office politics. Through the correspondence of company employees we chart the highs, but more often lows, of a desperate pitch for the Coca-Cola account, though this is merely incidental to what it reveals about the characters of the firm.

There are bitching secretaries, porn-obsessed lads and a hippy, not to mention the Machiavellian chief executive who is so computer-inept he manages to send all his internal emails via Finland. This enables his overly buoyant Finnish counterpart with a misguided sense of his grasp of English idiom: ‘gloomiest black pitchness’, to pitch for Coke account instead.

Beaumont is worryingly acute in his social observations down to the geek in accounts who is conducting a one-man stand against the ‘powers that be’. e. is no worthy management tome that will help you claw your way up the ranks, but it is fun to identify the characters in your office. The danger lies, however, in whether you can identify yourself.

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