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Blotto, Twinks, and the Dead Dowager Duchess is a novel by English crime writer Simon Brett, it is a book poking fun at the classic Agatha Christie style closed house whodunit.
Simon Brett is an English author who writes almost exclusively in the murder mystery genre, he usually focuses on the foibles and problems inherent in the English middle classes. His most famous series are the Mrs. Pargeter and Fethering series and is I suspect the author I've reviewed the most often on Dooyoo. Blotto, Twinks are the characters he has used to satirise the classic Thirties murder mysteries in it he uses the two characters to poke gentle fun at the absurdities of the classic murder mystery genre.
Blotto is the second son of the Earl of Tawcester and is a bit, no is very dim, he loves cricket, hunting, his cars and distrusts foreigners and anyone not of the rich upper class. Blotto is in his thirties, unmarried, has a loyal assistant in his chauffeur Corky and views the world through the pages of the classic John Hannah style hero.
Twinks is the beautiful younger sister of Blotto, she is clever, very pretty and uses both to get her own way she is still an aristocrat to her finger tips and is constantly fending of admirers from the world of the rugged adventurer type.
We were introduced to the pair in the case of the ex-presidents daughter but here we meet them on the way to a country house in the company of their formidable mother, the dowager Duchess of Tawcester. They are going to Netterings to meet a potential bride for Blotto, they arrive the Dowager of Netterings meets them but later on that afternoon she turns up dead with a pitchfork through the chest. Corky is named as the murderer by a passing amateur sleuth even though Twinks has already worked out the culprit and it's a member of the Dowagers staff. I'm not giving much away here because all this information can be found out from the books sleeve.
The plot is now well established, not only must the pair solve the murder but they must get Corky out of prison for a crime he didn't commit. They soon learn the identity of the murderer but not why, the string of clues takes them to aerodromes, east end pubs, a Welsh manor house and a lonely Scottish castle before the culprit is unmasked and the dastardly plot foiled.
As you might have guessed I enjoy the novel, it's only 200 pages long, in truth the murder mystery isn't really the point of the novel but a framework for Brett to hang his satire upon. All the classic elements of country house murder mysteries are satirised, made fun of and generally laughed at. Added to the mix are the tomfooleries of Blotto's ridiculous establishment view points, Twinks satirising super intelligence and the detective novel where only the supreme brilliance of the detective can unpick the seemingly unconnected clues.
Yes it has faults; it can be a little too over the top occasionally and the humour will only appeal to some and not all. I'd suspect my Nan or mum wouldn't enjoy it despite liking murder mysteries. In fact the cover made my mother in law ask who was reading a children's book because the covering is deliberately reminiscent of Enid Blyton style adventures.
Enjoy and fun, all in 200 pages.