First Impressions

December 16, 2005

This week's competition, in which you have to identify a book from its opening sentence, is from a novel written by an 18th-century MP who died of yellow fever and was buried at sea. He was obliged to expunge many passages from the second edition on the grounds of indecency:

"Scarcely had the Abbey-Bell tolled for five minutes, and already was the Church of the Capuchins thronged with Auditors"

* Entries, including postal address, should be sent to First Impressions, The Times Higher , Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, faxed to 020 7782 3300 or e-mailed to theschat@thes.co.uk

The winner receives a £25 book voucher. The closing date is December 19.

The winner of last week's competition, who identified Samuel Beckett's Murphy is Michael Shootbred of Birmingham.

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