Get ready for charm and whimsy with the sweetness and bite of twenty-year-old single malt Scotch. There’s a new cook named Sunny Jim on the steamer The Vital Spark in this collection of droll tales of the Scots characters. This is a ship full of wonderful characters. The Vital Spark is a “Clyde Puffer” carrying goods from Glasgow to the dreamy lochs and misty hills of the Highlands. Captained by Peter Macfarlaine — nicknamed Para Handy — “the smertest boat in the tred” is peopled by the likes of pompous engineer Dan Macphail, superstitious Dougie the ship’s-mate and The Tar — and featuring visits by Hurricane Jack and other odd folk.
Neil Munro (1863 – 1930) was a Scottish journalist, newspaper editor, author and literary critic. He is now mainly known for his humorous short stories, originally written under the pen name Hugh Foulis. The best known were about the fictional Clyde puffer the Vital Spark and her captain Para Handy, but they also included stories about the waiter and kirk beadle Erchie MacPherson, and the travelling drapery salesman Jimmy Swan. They were originally published in Glasgow newspapers, but collections were published as books. A key figure in literary circles, Munro was a friend of the writers J. M. Barrie, John Buchan, Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham and Joseph Conrad, and the artists Edward A. Hornel, George Houston, Pittendrigh MacGillivray and Robert Macaulay Stevenson.