I checked out this mystery from the library after reading that it is recommended for fans of Jeeves and Wooster, and also because I seemed to remember having read and enjoyed something by this author in the past.
The story is set in England in the 1920s or 30s, and opens as a body is discovered in the library of the elegant country estate of Tawster Towers. Blotto (whose real name is Devereux Lyminster) discovers the body, but although Blotto is devilishly handsome, he's not terribly bright. When he tells his mother, the duchess, about his gruesome discovery, she simply says, "Not now, Blotto. We have guests." Blotto knows that his sister Twinks (the Lady Honoria Lyminster) will know what to do, as she is fiendishly clever and loves to solve mysteries.
And Twinks, of course, does know what to do, although her mother the duchess is busily pulling strings to get the police detectives to drop their embarrassing investigation. When a kidnapping takes place, Blotto finds himself sent across the continent, away from his beloved England (and without the council of his clever sister). He's not thrilled about the matter, but he realizes it is his duty as an Englishman (particularly as the unfortunate young lady who has been kidnapped was staying as a guest at Tawster Towers).
I can see why this book is recommended to fans of Jeeves and Wooster. It is set during the same time period, and it pokes fun at the aristocracy. Blotto is not the brightest, and neither is Bertie Wooster. Twinks plays a Jeeves-ish role, and the plot is fairly ridiculous. But I have to say that although I adore Wodehouse, this one fell a bit flat for me. I think my ambivalence is mainly due to the cardboard cutout nature of the characters. They do say funny things, but each one is such a stereotype that I could never get past the cliche to see anything resembling an actual person. So I didn't really care about anyone, and when I don't care about anyone, I don't really see the point of reading the book. The plot was fairly predictable, and even though Wodehouse enjoys reprising plot points, there are always some delightfully funny surprises along the way, surprises that were sadly lacking in this book for this reader.
But I loaned this to my mother when I'd finished reading it, and she thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was hysterical. If you are in the mood for a light and ridiculous mystery, you just might want to give this one a try!
Books in the Blotto, Twinks series:
1. Blotto, Twinks, and the Ex-King's Daughter
2. Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess
3. Blotto, Twinks and the Rodents of the Riviera
Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-king's Daughter by Simon Brett (Felony & Mayhem Press, 2009)
Also reviewed at:
Books Please: "It is indeed silly in the P G Wodehouse style of Jeeves and Wooster silly, full of slang and poking fun at the amateur detective who is an expert in identifying toxins, reading clues and being several steps ahead of the plodding police."
Lesa's Book Critiques: "Brett has done a masterful job poking fun at mysteries with amateur sleuths of the British nobility...So, although I can appreciate what Brett did, the humor isn't my style."