Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess by Simon Brett

Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess written and narrated by Simon Brett (March 2011, ISIS Audio Books (mp3), ISBN: 978-1-4450-0778-6)

Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess is the second outing for aristocratic siblings Blotto and Twinks and the sequel to Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter. They are spending a long weekend at the Dowager Duchess of Melmont's stately home, Snitterings; Blotto is not enjoying it all as the daughter of the household, known unflatteringly as the Snittering's Ironing-board has set her cap at Blotto and he, being short of brains, is struggling to avoid the inevitable.

Among the party staying at Snitterings is a "know-it-all polymathic amateur sleuth" who finds himself in action when the body of the Dowager Duchess of Melmont is found in the kitchen gardens. However the conclusion he comes to, incorrectly points the finger at Blotto's chauffeur, Corky Froggett. Twinks has already deduced who the real killer is - and he has escaped - and so the duo set out to find him and prevent this miscarriage of justice.

Their investigations however lead them to uncovering the dastardly League of the Crimson Hand, a group dedicated to removing the aristocracy - by death. Their pursuit of the truth takes them to both the west and far north of the UK before a dramatic confrontation in the skies over London.

As with book one, this was a funny

"So sharp was the intake of breath from every customer that The Three Feathers only just avoided becoming a vaccum."

and engaging listening experience. I do so enjoy Simon Brett's narration. The plot in this one is probably a bit sillier than the previous one and doesn't take itself too seriously. At one point Blotto defeats 20 men with rifles with just his bare hands - all off the page! The pair are slightly less likeable than before with their over-reference to the "oikish" classes and the snobbery is a tad painful though of course this is a spoof so perhaps I shouldn't let it annoy me!

If you don't fancy the audio book then both Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess and Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter, published by Robinson, are available in paperback and very cheaply at the moment on Kindle (99p). The next book, Blotto, Twinks and the Rodents of the Riviera has just been published in hardback and Kindle, and I eagerly await the audio book.


Muse said...

I do think these work perfectly as audiobooks. Thanks for the info about the kindle versions as at that price nice to have.

I also found some of the upper class twittery a bit grating though took it as being satirical.

Nigel Bird said...

something about this makes me think of Jeeves and Wooster doing crime - a lovely thought. that, in turn, makes me think of the wonderful Doug Lindsay's series about Barney Thompson. very appealing.

Maxine Clarke said...

Yes, it sounds like a cross between P G Wodehouse and Fred Vargas (the bit about defeating 20 armed men single-handed, off page ;-) ).

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

Yes, I used a Wodehouse reference in my previous review :). I've been recommending them to library patrons who like Wodehouse as well.

Maxine Clarke said...

I wonder what library patrons who like Vargas would make of it ;-)