cover image Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess

Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess

Simon Brett. Felony & Mayhem (, $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-934609-92-7

Brett's second mystery set in 1920s England (after 2011's Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter) starts off as a passable Wodehouse imitation, but soon grows tiresome with its relentless wordplay, banter, and speech mannerisms evocative of Bertie Wooster (e.g., "Oh, trucky-trockle. Well, me old poached egg, tell me what your notion is zappity-ping"). The over-the-top plot finds the dim Honourable Devereux Lyminster (aka Blotto) and his brainy sister, Honoria (aka Twinks), investigating a murder that leads them to a sinister gang straight from the pulps, the League of the Crimson Hand. Wodehouse's genius lay in pairing memorably goofy characters with complex, rigorously constructed plots that maximized the farcical potential of misunderstandings and missteps. Brett's inability to do so renders this a slight diversion rather than a genuinely memorable comic mystery. (Jan.)