Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King’s Daughter – Simon Brett

“Crime-writing just like in the good old days, and perfect entertainment.” The Guardian.

I’m a huge fan of ‘Golden Age’ detective fiction. I’m generally a fan of detective fiction anyway, but there’s something else, maybe a sparkle of glamour or the lack of thriller-ness, about the Golden Age novels. You don’t have to rush through the book, the clues lightly strewn so as not to draw attention, unless you happen to be looking very carefully. I’ll admit to being the unobservant sort, normally surprised at the unmasking (unless I took a dislike which happens to be the murderer).

But anyway.

Blotto and Twinks are an aristocratic detective duo from the between-war period, the daughter and younger son of a Duke of Tawcester (pronounced Taster – English names!). Obviously they aren’t actually named Blotto and Twinks – nicknames for Devereux and Honoria. Blotto is dim, Twinks intelligent.

The ex-King and his entourage (wife, daughter and various bodyguards) are staying at Tawcester, guests of the Duke, and the ex-Princess is kidnapped. Family honour and all demands that she be rescued. By Blotto.

It sounds quite entertaining. Sadly it was only mildly amusing.

Blotto and Twinks talk precisely as the stereotype imagines the between-war aristocrats talked, with everything larksissimo. While it works for Bertie Wooster, it doesn’t quite work with Blotto and Twinks. The whole story was faintly ridiculous. It had the makings of a fun romp, but it fell at the last post.

For me, the style just didn’t work. It tried too hard to be Golden Age with the upper-class setting and the aristocratic detectives, and it failed. It’s too much of a poor imitation, and it fails in being particularly comic too. A shame.

Let’s just say I’m in no hurry to read of Blotto and Twinks’ other, no doubt hair-raising, larks.

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