Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box

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Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box
AuthorPaul Howard
IllustratorAlan Clarke
Cover artistAlan Clarke
CountryRepublic of Ireland
SeriesRoss O'Carroll-Kelly
GenreComic novel, satire
Set inDublin and Andorra, 2006
PublisherPenguin Books
Publication date
30 October 2008
Media typePaperback
Preceded byThis Champagne Mojito Is The Last Thing I Own 
Followed byRhino What You Did Last Summer 

Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box is a 2008 novel by Irish journalist and author Paul Howard, and the eighth in the Ross O'Carroll-Kelly series.[1][2][3][4]


The title references Pandora's Box. "Mr S" is Frank Sinatra, who Ross' father drank with one night in the Shelbourne Hotel.


Howard stated that the twist in this book — that Charles is Erika's father, and that she is therefore Ross's half-sister — had been planned "from about three books back," i.e. around the time of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress.[5]


Ross becomes the coach of the Andorra national rugby union team. It is revealed that Ross's longtime crush Erika is his half-sister. Ross also attempts psychotherapy as he tries to copy with separation from Sorcha and Honor. Immaculata, the African orphan that Sorcha once sponsored, arrives at the door. J.P. leaves the seminary, while Fionnuala becomes a TV chef.[6]


In the Irish Independent, Anne Marie Scanlon wrote, "Ross is a monster, but one who consistently entertains us, and maybe it is the Irish obsession with the craic that makes Mr O'Carroll Kelly such an unfailingly welcome character," describing the book as "spot-on social satire."[7]

In The Irish Times, Kevin Power praised Howard's "flawless ear for the verbal self-betrayals of our prosperous middle class […] This is more than an extraordinary comic gift; it is a way of talking seriously about character and social standing." However, he also observed that "The very early Ross books were cruder, but more identifiably satirical […] there was in those early novels a kind of anger that surfaces only faintly in the new one. It may be that Ross is running out of steam."[8]

Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box was shortlisted the Eason Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year award at the 2009 Irish Book Awards.[9][10]


  1. ^ Gorman, Clare (June 1, 2015). The Undecidable: Jacques Derrida and Paul Howard. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781443883597 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ O'Carroll-Kelly, Ross (October 30, 2008). Mr S and the Secrets of Andorra's Box. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141900124 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Dalzell, Tom; Victor, Terry (June 26, 2015). The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Routledge. ISBN 9781317372516 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "This autumn sees a great crop of new titles to read".
  5. ^ "ON BEING ROSS". The Irish Times.
  6. ^ Maher, Eamon; O'Brien, Eugene (September 4, 2014). From Prosperity to Austerity: A Socio-Cultural Critique of the Celtic Tiger and Its Aftermath. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780719091674 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Ross fails as a nice goy -- thank God".
  8. ^ Power, Kevin. "Keeping his mirror uncracked". The Irish Times.
  9. ^ "Another 'gift' for Cecelia as novel makes shortlist".
  10. ^ "Your vote counts in Book Awards 2009".