Love in a Hot Climate by A.C.T. Marke

March 8, 2010 at 8:14 am (expatriates, Papua New Guinea, Somerset) (, , , , , , , )

A.C.T. Marke, what a fine figure of a man!

A.C.T. Marke & John Kelly in the wilds of PNG
Marke, in a reflective mood, before the publication of LOVE ON THE RUN and LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE
“Will Temlett Conibeer never learn?”

Andy Marke does it a again with his latest novel,  Love in a Hot Climate.

Extensive reviews and commentaries will follow. You are urged to get a copy before supplies run out.


Love in a Hot Climate

Available from Frogmouth Press

PO Box 90, Ainslie ACT 2602

Mobile: 0428833212

$30 a copy posted to you

Hot off the press!



Review by Maurice Thibaux

Andrew Marke’s second book, Love in a Hot Climate, comes at the right time with the screening of the documentary on the Kokoda campaign on the ABC for ANZAC day to remind us that New Guinea was once part of the Empire and Australia. Even though Marke’s second book is again meant as a light-hearted account of the sexual adventures of a malaria eradication officer in New Guinea in the 60s, the jungle assumes a foreboding presence over the proceedings. His hero is still looking for the woman of his dream and the jungle is more part of his strategy here than just a backdrop to his hi-jinx amorous quest. 

This book may be highly entertaining for those ex Territorians who want to relive the good ol’ days, it is not a travelogue for those who are seeking exotic sensations in a wild location. They may miss the jokes altogether. The jungle of New Guinea is treated with as much familiarity as the fells of Cornwall in the early chapters of the two books, where his character starts his journey. The atmosphere is set at a brisk pace. “Tough if you don’t get it, seems to say Marke, this is not a romantic novel”. 

When you are reminded of the gruelling trek Australian soldiers had to endure on the Kokoda trail, you get a hint of the harrowing experience it would have been for one (amongst many) of our hero’s young English female companion who ends up for several days and nights in her underwear in the middle of this jungle in one of the most memorable episode in the book, after their Land Rover is swamped by a swollen river. 

And yet, the hero and the young lady spend several days and nights, soaked to the bone in tropical rain, discussing Victorian literature and other such pressing matters, while waiting for the odd passing native, Ariel-like, to bring them some fresh supplies from a village that we never discover. This requires a fair suspension of disbelief or perhaps a highly developed sense of humour, of which only the English have the secret. The book is indeed subtitled “Further exciting and very funny adventures of Temlett etc.”. I wonder. I would have called it The Tempest no.2, since the Shakespearian analogy is uncanny with Temlett as Prospero running the show and weaving his magic and a cast of colourful characters very similar to old Bill’s . 

Unlike the first book, which got me cracking up at times, this book did not produce such mirth. It made me smile but not in the same way, but, as in the previous book, there are moments of pathos and even tragedy. Sure there are a few crazy characters in the stories, such as, French, Marcel, who keeps murdering the English language with near fatal consequences, or, German, Erik, who has very set views on women and proper behaviour, which he cannot reconcile with the sexual revolution of the 60s, or, Aussie, David Ware who keeps coming up with the most inventive ways of making money. 

Literary references and Latin quotations abound and sound as fantastic in this book as Pink Floyd’s music in the film, The Valley, by Barbet Schroeder about a lost paradise deep in the New Guinea highlands. The places where Marke takes us with Temlett do feel like that: a lost paradise of earthly pleasures that regularly turn to disaster. Nature vs nurture but, this time, it seems that nature won. Sorry Bill.

Despite the almost unbelievable situations in which his hero puts himself, Marke keeps us hoping that, this time, he will reach marital bliss with one after another curvaceous creature. Oh, yes, I forgot: this book is definitely not for women, who will loathe it with a vengeance. You are warned! I repeat: this is not a romantic novel, quite the contrary. A mixture of religious inhibitions and traditional Victorian morality and good manners seem to prevent him from achieving his marital plans.Nevertheless, again in this book, there is a lovely story at the end about a child that is quite sad and moving. But perhaps, this is what is so endearing about his character and the writer: the chase is certainly exciting and the women an essential ingredient, but it seems to be the child who is the real purpose. He may have inadvertently discovered the meaning of life or a new literary form. In a way Marke has revived the Victorian novel in the context of the sexual revolution. 

I read it twice because I could not think of anything better to read (I finished Les Miserables in between – thanks for reminding me). It left me gasping at some blunt statements, but it is so full of details and references of all kinds, except about what you would expect: the jungle and the natives. Occasionally we are reminded that they are around when he mentions briefly: “they had bidden goodbye to the Councillor and villagers and were off”. Ah! I almost forgot we were in PNG.




  1. Norm Liddle said,

    Review by Norm Liddle

    Love in a Hot Climate by A.C.T. Marke, Frogmouth Press, Ainslie, ACT, 2010

    What did a white red-blooded male with Victorian values and an eye for full-bodied women do in colonial Papua New Guinea ? Perhaps “Love in a Hot Climate”, a tale consisting of four novellas with the protagonist, Temlett Conibeer, may provide the answer.
    Temlett’s restraint and passion with the women he encounters, in the telling, range from the tedious to the unreal. There are times when the reader feels inclined to say, ‘go for it, Temlett!’ And at other times one is expected to believe that modern women will listen entranced while Temlett reads Victorian novels to them for hours.
    The setting, characters and situations in this book are all too contrived to be convincing.
    The PNG setting seems somewhat incidental to the plot. There is very little said of the country that is insightful and informative. In “Love on New Britain” we hear only of expatriate women and no mention is made of the beautiful Chinese, mixed-race and native women that were numerous in the Rabaul of old. Beau, the supposed public school man in the club, with his Latin quotations is more like a music hall character than an educated man.
    Perhaps because the whole book is so full of imaginative and unrealistic incidents and situations it has a certain humorous impact but it tells us little about PNG or human nature. It might provide some insights into the thinking of the author.
    This work is recommended only for those who are desperate for reading material.

    • deberigny said,


      Your comments about LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE don’t say it all. There’s a lot more in it. I felt that Temlett’s essential decency came through. Look at how well he looked after his adopted child. He never wanted to take advantage of the women he desired. The club scenes described in the book are pretty true to life, from what I remember of colonial PNG. Temlett’s quest for a wife is a genuine life experience that so many expats faced in a past PNG.
      I totally disagree with your last sentence. LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE is well worth reading!

      David Wall

  2. Bob Mackie said,

    I’ve not read this book but you would think that the author could have been a little more creative about the title: Love in a Hot Climate. Many other works are called this. From what I’ve heard this book is a bit raunchy in places and for a title I would suggest: A Craving in the Tropics.

  3. Allen Warburton said,

    As a comfort to Temlett Conibeer I would like to quote George Bernard Shaw:
    ” It is a woman’s business to get married as soon as possible and a man’s to keep unmarried as long as he can.”

  4. Thomas More said,

    I borrowed a copy of LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE from a friend, what an engrossing read it was! Uncle Farmer is so like the many old codgers I knew in Somerset and even Temlett has the flavour of the West Country about him. I’ve been told that this is a sequel of a previous novel, LOVE ON THE RUN. If this is as good as LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE, I can only hope for a third volume. This would be a trilogy that would take the literary world by storm. Papua New Guines, as a backdrop to this romantic tale, adds to the sexual intensity that discreetly pervades the narrative. I identified with the hero of the piece, Temlett Conibeer, and I only hope that the world will repay him, in no small measure, for the pleasure he has given to the the women he has encounted. Temlett as a creation of A.C.T Marke, is an illustrious Victorian and a credit to the human race.
    To the reading public, I can only say, go out, and buy this enthralling work.

  5. Bill Peace said,

    A friend of mine lent me a copy of LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE. I stayed up late, and read the whole book in one sitting, and I must say, I found it enjoyable. The main character, Temlett Conibeer, was so like many expats I knew in my time in the Territory. I worked for Treasury in the 1940s and did not leave until the 1960s, so you would understand I’m getting a bit long in the tooth now, but the memory of the likes of Temlett strongly remain with me. All of us whites in the old PNG, except for the married ones, were sexually frustrated. The old colour bar was pretty strong, and we were all told to keep away from the local women, even though, we were attracted to them. One of my early postings was in Kerema, and there were some good lookers among the local girls, but what with the Native Women’s Protection Ordinance, it wasn’t worth it to try for a bit on the side. So for many of my years in the Territory I was like a caged tiger. My problems were only solved when on leave I went to Japan and ran into Moon Face. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. We even lived together for a period in PNG. Now back to the book, Temlett, obviously arrives in the UK on leave from PNG with a lot of dirty water still on his chest. The way he is eyeing off the woman in the train carriage makes this clear. On his six-day- plane trip from Samarai there does not seem to have been a stop over anywhere to relieve his pent up sexual tension. It goes, without saying, he did no good with his train companion. And then, in Somerset ,he pays attention to Jilly Hockallor, a lesbian, as he becomes later aware of. Back in PNG he has a number of affairs or near affairs. The most full-blooded one being with the New Guinea woman, Ginni, and this happens in a semiconscious state. Temlett’s definition of a sexual encounter seems only to apply to full penetration. A manual manipulation to orgasm, in some weird way, in Temlett’s Victorian values system, seems to preserve the purity of the women. Temlett reminds me of Bill Clinton when he said: “I did not have sex with that woman.” The women in Temlett’s life are too numerous to treat separately, but sufficient to say, they are like butterflies around the glow of his intellectual and physical presence. A Freudian would make hay with Temlett’s love of cats.
    The characterization that the writer, A.C.T. Marke, has put into Temlett, makes this novel what it is. The Territory, women and other expats and natives are only padding to this brilliant achievement. What a complex and abiding person Temlett is.
    Someone said of A.C.T. Mark’s previous work, LOVE ON THE RUN, that it was pornographic without being titillating, this novel is titillating without being pornographic.
    I can say that this is one of the best books I’ve read for a long time.

  6. Jim McLaren said,

    I love the comments about this book. Do you know if Frogmouth Press offers a discount to Senior Card holders?

  7. David Wall said,

    Jim, you would have to approach the publisher directly or write to A.C.T. Marke. I think he would be sympathetic as he is a senior too. David

  8. Zainil said,

    Sorry David, I find Love in a Hot Climate, similar to Love on the Run, very tedious. I don’t have the patience and both aren’t engaging enough. I don’t have the time for it.

    But I am keen to read your sequel to Sepik Blue, or another novel by you.

    • David Wall said,

      Zainil, thank you, I might have another one in the pipeline, but, of course, it won’t approach the brilliance of A.C.T. Marke’s work. David

  9. Roger Hughes said,

    I told a friend of mine that if I was marooned on a desert island I would take the following books: Authorized King James Version of the Bible, Book of Common Prayer, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Love on the Run and Love in a Hot Climate.
    He approved of the first two volumes, but said, of The Confessions, Saint Augustine was an amilleniast, and as for the two books by Marke, he felt, that the author was theologically indefinable. I told him that I did not care, if Marke was a premilleniast, postmilleniast or amilleniast, whereupon, he said, that Marke’s books were soporific. I answered, these are the books I would take!

  10. George Best said,

    Why is Roger Hughes’ friend applying the eschatological blowtorch to A.C.T. Marke?

    • deberigny said,

      To use a word coined by Sir Ernest Spender of Sepik Blu and Findhorn fame, A.C.T. Marke would best be described, in an eschatological sense, as a ‘nonmilleniast’.

  11. Andrew Wilson said,

    I don’t want to get into a theological or literary argument about it, but suffice to say, Marke has created a complex character in the person of Temlett Conibeer, a man who it is obvious to see, is into rapture, whether it is the rapture of the Lord is a debatable point, however, we see Temlett’s fascination with Victorian novels and his suggestion in the club that members consider the church as a career option. Not that I want to put a label on anyone, but I see Temlett as a Dispensationalist Premillennialist and by association Marke himself, also. On a human level, Temlett’s life has all the elements of Rapture, Tribulation, Armageddon and the Second Coming. At the end of LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE, Temlett savours “the memories.”

  12. deberigny said,

    All readers will be pleased to hear that Marke’s next book:

  13. “The Search for Mrs Right” | Stories by David Wall said,

  14. The works of A.C.T. Marke in pride of place in Peter Johnson’s bookshelf | Stories by David Wall said,

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