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Ten Lords A-Leaping Hardcover – June, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
The sixth Robert Amiss mystery is a wonderful romp set largely among the Lords of Parliament?either in their chambers or on their estates. The redoubtable Ida "Jack" Troutbeck, Mistress of St. Mary's College, Cambridge (seen in Matricide at St. Martha's), about to be elevated to the House of Lords, imperiously enlists the bookish Amiss to assist her in her latest campaign, namely to defend the ancient British tradition of fox-hunting from an all-out assault by various animal-rights activists. Amiss doesn't quite approve of hunting, but that doesn't deter Troutbeck: "Bugger your moral susceptibilities," she orders, and he does. While the opposition counts among its supporters the likes of Brother Francis (Lord Purseglove), whose vapid nature poetry would embarrass a bunny rabbit, Troutbeck's allies include a couple of boorish lords who must be controlled, while the Rights of Animals League proves a formidable foe. Troutbeck is great fun?a woman of large and lusty appetites who demolishes arguments or a glass of whisky with equal gusto. Amiss is swept along in her wake as the war of words and wits turns to a murderous assault in the House of Lords that leaves several members dead and others shaken. Edwards ably skewers fox-hunters and anti-fox hunters alike, as well as a slew of other targets in this farcical and appealing mystery.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Outspoken head of St. Martha's College, Cambridge, Ida "Jack" Troutbeck, summons friend Robert Amiss, former civil servant and sometime sleuth, to attend her elevation to the peerage. Her maiden speech will defend fox hunting, a topic that has inspired heated public debate, threatening letters, and vandalism. When the violence escalates to mass murder, Amiss aids the police. The often acerbic narration, ready wit, strong characterization, and comic emphasis on food make this an appealing follow-up to Matricide at St. Martin's (St. Martin's, 1995).
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is dry British humor. It holds no sacred cows in fact she targets and sends up sacred cows in her books. She also has a cat character, Plutarch, who is one of the funnier cats in writing without that nauseating cloyness that many authors give pets. Then again, that's probably part of the humor.
If you like dry humor, if you appreciate poking fun at most everything, if you like intelligent slapstick (do you like Mr. Bean?) then you will probably appreciate the humor here. It also helps if you understand and appreciate irony. Otherwise, much of this may either bewilder or bore you. If you're a bit prudish this probably isn't your cup of tea either.
One other thing - the mystery here is just a vehicle for a hilarious story. If you want mysteries to be the key, this will probably irritate you too. I wasn't particularly worried about the solution as I was enjoying the caper far more, but I knew what I was in for.
When several Peers are found dead following the debate Ellis Pooley and Jim Milton from Scotland Yard become involved and things start looking dangerous for Jack and Robert. There are some marvellously funny scenes in this book - most notably those featuring Plutarch, Robert's cat. Both the pro and anti-hunting lobbies are satirised and animal rights activists come in for a fair amount of stick too.
This irreverent series takes apart some of the UK's best loved and most hated institutions and provides interesting murder mysteries and lovable characters as well. If you like your crime novels with interesting backgrounds and not too much violence on the page then you may enjoy this series. The books can be read in any order but if you read them in the order in which they were published it's easier to understand the development of the series characters.
Like the previous reviewer, I believe the ending is rather contrived and it does break one of the cardinal rules of mysterydom, which is that there should be enough clues along the way to give away the identity of the murderer to a careful reader. But since this is a comic mystery that is a bit less of a crime, if you'll pardon the pun.
I did not enjoy this one as much as some other Dudley Edwards mysteries, but it did keep me entertained and surely that counts for a lot. One point: someone needs to tell the writer that the state of Virginia is not in the American midwest.