Dip into The A to Z of Alfie Zeller to find: Petty Officer Sam Zeller, who swam the Channel long before Captain Webb, in a straight line, without body grease in search of escargots; Pierre, who invented Chicken Marengo and was promoted to corporal by Napoleon; Alicia Zeller, who ran the séances at which Arthur Conan Doyle saw fairies. Meet Trooper Zeller, who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade, or would have done, if he’d been there; Zeb Zeller, whose diaries made those of Sam Pepys read like the tedious account of bowel movements which they mostly are; Herman Zeller, who put Franz Kafka on to surrealism; the Zeller who was defenestrated in Prague and fell into a rose bush; and finally meet the Zeller who, although a staunch Royalist, fought in the Parliamentary ranks at Naseby.
It is all explained somewhere and Alfie does not spare the details. If short of a few, he admits to perhaps having made them up. What, he argues, is a slightly dubious fact, if it gets in the way of the truth?