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Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess: Blotto, Twinks #2 Paperback – January 16, 2012

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In his first Blotto and Twinks novel, Brett upended the conventions of the country-house, body-found-in-the-library mystery, shaking out every one of its hoary traditions like so much loose change. In the second, Brett intensifies the satire and the action, delivering readers absolute barrages of wordplay and one-liners, which make this romp reminiscent of theatrical farces like The Importance of Being Earnest or You Can’t Take It with You. The extremely privileged 1920s brother-sister pair of Blotto (the handsome, brainless scion of a wealthy family) and his sister, Twinks (drop-dead gorgeous and over-the-top brainy), once again embark on solving a mystery that drops into their laps. Blotto has been dreading an upcoming country-house party, with its inclusion of guests with dark secrets, a private detective, and, of course, a murder—sure enough, the hostess herself, the Duchess of Melmont, is shortly dispatched in the garden with a pitchfork. Blotto and Twinks must defend the honor of the chief suspect, the family chauffeur, and are quickly caught up in a zany whirl that takes them through a London opium den all the way to a castle in the Highlands, as they trace the workings of the Crimson Hand (and find the owner of the Crimson Thumb, too). As in his other novels, Brett is a devastating social critic (he nicely skewers his upper-class characters’ blithe acceptance of the suffering of the lower classes) and master of devastating physical characterization. This is the kind of book you’ll have to put down, frequently, as you roar with laughter. --Connie Fletcher

Product Details

  • Series: Blotto Twinks (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem; Reprint edition (January 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934609927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609927
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #997,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Blotto isn't happy. He's been finagled into a long weekend at the estate of the Dowager Duchess of Melmont, where he knows he'll suffer at the hands of his mother and the Dowager, who are resolved upon his marriage to the hideous Laetitia Melmont, and at the inevitable murder that is bound to occur and be solved by some pompous amateur sleuth. The only thing that makes the weekend bearable is the presence of his sister, the beautiful and intelligent Honoria (better known, of course, as Twinks!) As expected, a murder occurs and the amateur sleuth does his best to solve the crime....but Blotto and Twinks are a few steps ahead of him and not only solve the murder (in just a few short chapters) but infiltrate a dastardly anarchist group that's threatening England's social system and all that the pair know is right in their aristocratic existence.

I love Simon Brett's books and this series is just a perfect example of them. He has mastered the perfect blend of satire and mystery to make the book delightful. With a hilarious cast of characters (including the amateur sleuth who's a strange mixture of all the "negative" qualities of Poirot, Holmes, Wimsey and even Miss Marple), abundant witty dialogue and laugh-out-loud descriptions and plays on words, this parody is sure to delight any fans of P.G. Wodehouse and Golden Age mysteries. I certainly enjoyed it!
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P.G. Wodehouse was probably not the first to make fun of the brainless British aristocracy, but he certainly turned it into a minor form of British humor, often imitated and never duplicated. This unfortunately is true of Blotto and Twinks. The satire of odd dialogue and apt names grows a bit thin after a while, because, unlike Wodehouse, there is no common sense, common man Jeeves to balance the simultaneous perfection and ridiculousness of the aristocratic protagonists. The author refers to the other ranks, throughout as the oikish classes and the reader gets the sense that he is not even half in jest.

Meet Blotto, the Honorable and his sister Twinks. Both are beautiful and honorable representations of their class, but Twinks, seems to have gotten the brains meant for both of them. Twinks and Blotto attend the customary English House Party Weekend, complete with a polymath amateur sleuth (not in this case them) only to discover that their hostess has been murdered and the amateur sleuth has gotten quite the wrong end of the stick in accusing Blotto's chauffeur, a man so loyal he is literally willing to die for the pair of them, even if that means being hanged for a crime he didn't commit. Again, this is portrayed as humor, but again there is no balance. Blotto and Twinks hare off on a madcap adventure to find the real murderer that leads them through an opium den and the odd castle and the headquarters of those of the oikish classes not prepared to stay in their place.

As lighthearted fare, Blotto and Twinks mysteries are fine, but don't rise above the imitation of Wodehouse that is so obviously intended and don't rise above this because none of the characters ever rises above cliche.
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Format: Paperback
The Dowager Duchess of Tawcester informs her two offspring (better known as Blotto and Twinks than Honourable or Lady) that the trio will attend a weekend gala at the estate of the Dowager Duchess of Melmont. Blotto tries to avoid Laetitia Melmont who seems to find him with uncanny skill. However, the house party gaiety ends abruptly when someone uses a pitchfork to murder the hostess in her kitchen garden.

While the Dowager Duchess of Tawcester accuses her rival the dead Melmont of doing anything to gain a societal edge, Snitterings the butler sends for Constable Trumbull and Sergeant Knatchbull. Guest amateur sleuth Troubadour Bligh accuses the Tawcester chauffeur Corky Froggett of murdering the Dead Dowager Duchess. Blotto and Twinks know Corky is innocent so they investigate the homicide that leads them to evil League of the Crimson Hand

This is a fun P. G. Wodehouse-light satire of the 1920s manners mysteries in which idle wealthy aristocrats solve cases while simpering moronic constables provide comic relief. As a case against in-breeding Blotto turns into a detractor as he proves IQs can be negative numbers with his incessant need for a zillion explanations mostly from his patient brilliant sibling. Still overall the second Blotto, Twinks aristocratic amateur sleuth (see Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter) is an amusing parody as a name by any other name is still a name.

Harriet Klausner
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