Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess
by Simon Brett
Review by Gayle Surrette
Felony & Mayhem Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781934609927
Date: 16 January 2012 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Simon Brett is back with a new Blotto and Twinks adventure -- Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess. It's another wild romp circa 1920 where English aristocrats solve crimes -- but only as they impinge upon their environment. Blotto, the Honourable Devereaux Lyminster, is as dumb as a post, but his heart is in the right place. He has a strict code of honor, and a sister who has more than enough brains to keep them out of trouble. Twinks, Blotto's sister, the Lady Honoria Lyminster, is a woman who could do so much, except she's expected to meet the expectations of her class and station in life -- boring though they may be.
Our story opens when their mother informs them that they will be attending a house party at the Melmont family home, Snitterings. Blotto's mother's hidden agenda is to get Blotto engaged to Laetitia Melmont, who Blotto thinks of as the 'Snitterings' ironing board'. Even without this, Blotto's not too keen on weekend house parties.
There was one thing Blotto ... didn't like about weekend house parties, it was the inevitable gathering-together of a large number of people with dark secrets in their past, along with the tiresome near-certainty that one of them would get murdered. Not to mention the unavoidable presence of a know-it-all polymathic amateur sleuth who would happen to be staying for the weekend. And the obligatory moment when the aforementioned know-it-all polymathic amateur sleuth would dragoon everyone into the library to tell them whodunit.That quote gives you an idea of the style of the book and the tongue in cheek nature of the story - if this isn't your type of thing, steer clear. In quick order, there's a murder, a meddling polymathic amateur sleuth, conviction among the guests that only a servant could do the crime because aristocrats would never do such a vulgar thing, and someone wrongfully blamed for the crime who is important to Blotto and Twinks' comfort in life which necessitates their solving the crime and finding the real murderer.
Twinks dives in and soon learns that more is involved than just this murder. The murder leads them to a group that intends to upset the government and make everyone equal under the law. While Twinks and Blotto cannot seem to conceive of anyone wanting to get above themselves, thinking they're equal to their betters, they decide that this group must be stopped.
As with the previous books, the action is fairly fast paced and the dialogue a bit over the top -- for example Blotto manages to take out twenty armed men with only his best cricket bat. This series is laugh out loud entertainment with twists and turns aplenty while these aristocrats seem oblivious to the social upheaval about to erupt around them.
Fun and entertaining, this book is a great way to relax when life is getting you down.