Book Review Rutland Local History & Record Society Researching Rutland	Registered Charity No 700273
A Country Chemist - Memoirs of a Rural Pharmacist By Rex Merchant Self published in 2015 by the author normancottage@yahoo.co.uk ISBN 9781902474304 Available from local bookshops. £9.00 Rex Merchant is well-known in Rutland as the pharmacist managing ‘Boots’ in Uppingham and then in Oakham before retiring in 1995. In this book he describes his career as it developed over 40 years, starting in the Fenland and ending in Oakham. He came to Uppingham in the early 1960s, moving to Oakham in the mid-1970s. Much of this short but enjoyable paperback concerns incidents in his career in both towns. His reminiscences of the winter of 1963 and the haunting of the Uppingham ‘Boots’ shop are particularly interesting as indeed are his tales of being an amateur horologist and taxidermist in both towns. However, his best story must be of what happened when he discovered a canister of mustard gas at the back of the Uppingham shop! All in all this is a commendable little autobiography which leaves the reader wanting more. I suppose that professional etiquette does not allow him to recount many of the stories he could tell but those he does are both intriguing and amusing. One only hopes that other people of his generation with interesting stories to tell commit some of them to paper before they are lost forever. This slim paperback is self published but still maintains a good standard of illustration and a sharp readable typeface. The author has written a number of novels, again all self published and some works on taxidermy. These are available through local bookshops and libraries or from www.rexmerchant.co.uk. His success as a self published author should encourage others to put pen to paper. My only regret about this volume was that I wish it been longer with more stories and detail. That said I'd recommend it to anybody with an interest in Oakham and Uppingham in the last half of the 20th century. HJC