Think Bertie Wooster but only much sillier then you have a fair idea of the characters of this book, “Blotto” in particular who goes by the correct title Right Ho. Devereux Lyminster finds that good old fashioned murder plot line has happened in his ancestral pile Tawcester Towers – “a body in the library”. His mother rightly dismisses it as frightfully inconvenient especially as they are in the middle of hosting a house party for the ex-King of Mitteleuropia and his wife the ex-Queen and their daughter, the ex-Princess. Blotto is dispatched to sort out such trifling matters without any involvement from the local authorities who are of no use whatsoever anyway.
Trouble is Blotto, likes two things hunting and cricket and his substantially small brain is taken up with that and not dead bodies, intrigue, plotting and ousting murderer’s for that he leaves it all to his sister, Lady Honoria Lyminster or “Twinks” as she has the brains to keep Blotto on the straight and narrow or at least focussed to the problem in hand.
As the body count increases and a kidnap plot is not foiled due to the incompetent belief in people, Blotto has to save family honour and travel to Mitteleuropia to see about restoring the ex-King as the the King. Not taking any chances he is accompanied by a Mitteleuropian manservant who seems to have the same taste in perfume as his sister, Twinks?
So with a few scuffles, a temptation, the threat of death and a bit of wielding a cricket back, somehow Blotto saves the day. But he will have to uphold family honour from his deed, but can Twinks save him from that fate or not?
This is a very silly book, and I cannot think of a better word to describe it really. If you are happy to perhaps suspend disbelief for a few hours then you will seek enjoyment in the book. The silliness extends to the continual references to the ex-King, the usurper and plans made;
“But what if he tries to foil your plans to foil his plans to foil my plans?”
“Don’t worry, sir. I have a plan to foil his plans to foil my plans to foil his plans to foil your plans.”
“Good. I like people who think ahead.”
It is witty in parts, and can positively make you groan in others, there is plenty to make you smile especially about how English Blotto is, which perhaps gives weight to the period of this novel. However if you have never read any Simon Brett before now, I would recommend you start with any of the Fethering Mysteries and come back to these at a later date.
I picked this book up in the library, when I was browsing and spotted the name Simon Brett first. Having read all but three of his Fethering Mysteries I wanted to see what this one was like, and always a fan of crime in the comedic and cosy sort I decided I would not lose anything by checking it out the library.
I started it whilst waiting for the bus back home (bus stop conveniently outside library and it was raining) and finished it a day later, but I think really at around 186 pages it took me only a few hours to read. It was not gripping enough for me to carrying on reading it and not do anything else.
They are currently on offer on Amazon Kindle for 99p (as I write this post) and I had dithered over trying one out, but something made me resist. Having read the book I now know why. How can you say that you do not want to read the next in the series of books, but at the same time you also want to? I think what perhaps I am getting at is, I would not part with money for these books even 99p but would happily pick them up if they appeared in the library? How fickle is that?