From Publishers Weekly
Alive for more than 450 years, doomed to ply the seas endlessly (except for shore leave), Capt. Cornelius Vanderdecker is the Flying Dutchman immortalized in legend and Wagner's opera. In a sophisticated fantasy that is occasionally hilarious but sometimes as creaky as the Dutchman's wood ship, levelheaded London accountant Jane Doland discovers some anomalies in an old ledger and sets out to find beer-swilling Vanderdecker to prevent him from cashing in on a life insurance policy that would bankrupt all of Europe. Meanwhile the captain, cursed with an unpleasant odor, seeks the Ultimate Deodorant from megalomaniac alchemist/inventor Professor Montalban, who invented the computer in 1694. Holt ( The Walled Orchard ) peppers these antics doings with jokes about accountants, history, death, taxes and the general rottenness of existence. His diverting story provides numerous compelling reasons why one would not want to live for centuries.
From Kirkus Reviews
Another British-accented comedy-fantasy inspired by Wagner (Expecting Someone Taller, 1988, based on the Ring Cycle), here centering on the Flying Dutchman legend. Wagner, of course, got it all wrong: Julius Vanderdecker, a.k.a. the Flying Dutchman, accidentally drank an immortality elixir back in the 16th century, along with the entire crew of his ship--only to discover that he and his men smelled so awful that they were forced to return to sea. Since then, only for one month every seven years has the stench subsided enough for Vanderdecker to take shore leave. Now, however, thanks to an insurance policy that Vanderdecker took out before he became immortal, the stability of the entire global economic system depends on his continuing survival--so discovers accountant Jane Doland; luckily, Jane has a very poor sense of smell. Meanwhile, Professor Montalban, the elixir's inventor, has spent the last four centuries directing the planet's economic and scientific progress in a single-minded effort to find a cure for the stench--a cure that finally arrives in the form of an exploding nuclear reactor.
Not bad. Not as funny as I'd been lead to believe, but still entertaining.