Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett

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Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett

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Category: Humour
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A new series for Simon Brett provides us with two sterling toff-type creations, but their adventure here leaves room for improvement. This is still one of the funniest books of the year however.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 978-1845299354

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There can be few people who have written eighty books without me even having picked up one of them. At least, and at last, I have redressed that fault in the case of Simon Brett, and have come to the conclusion there are 79 more that will be worth investigating. Here we meet for the first time Blotto (posh idiotic son of a dowager duchess) and Twinks (posh brilliant genius sister to Blotto), their family, their surroundings, and the corpse inconveniently disturbing a dinner party.

The local police are called in, and then called up again to make sure they're not going to come back with any more ideas about speaking to the nice upper class party guests ever again - this is just not done. But as the dead man is part of an important social party of exiled royalty from Mitteleuropia, there is cause to investigate his death. (If he'd been a manservant, well, that's a different story - he would have been swept under the carpet, and replaced without anyone noticing.)

This is a comedy class background, full of people and place names that of course are pronounced at odds with how they are spelled, full of pedigree horses, fast cars, soirees and satins. And Blotto and Twinks are perfect for it. Their odd turns of phrase are sufficiently different from any Blackadder word wrangling, and Jeeves and Wooster, to make their quickly defined characters very enjoyable. They're certainly good value for a few more adventure thrillers, as their class views are so inventively given us.

This book loses some oomph midway, when Blotto goes abroad with his driver, to try and resolve the problems in Mitteleuropia, which involves rescuing a gorgeous princess he can't abide, revenging a coup, and trying out the local hunting. I was a little let down by this second half, however, as there was more than enough comic pep in the earlier pages (Come off it, I'm as likely to go abroad as I am to clean my own shoes as Blotto says early on) for my liking.

The thriller side of things then is not a complete success, but the comedy elements are top notch. So often I read a book, and follow it with the blurb, only to find out it was supposed to be funny. Many of the more humorous books have a flash of a laugh here or there - perhaps as impetus at the start of the chapter, and then nowhere else. Here there are comedy lines sprinkled with absolute liberty throughout, and the caustic, scabrous line of the main characters is, er, upper class. Jokes about how unfortunate it might be to be a foreigner, how manly the public school system has left one, how great an invention cricket is, have all been done before, but their combined effect here, with the dunce/dream duality of the siblings, mean this book was a most genial introduction to Brett for me.

I am sure fans of his will be clearing a shelf for any more Blotto and Twinks books he cares to give us. I would wish for more in the way of sustained sleuthing mood, but would happily return to this series.

I must thank the nice Constable Books people for my review copy.

A much more modern, American, comedy thriller can be found any time one opens a Marshall Karp novel. You might also enjoy Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess by Simon Brett.

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Buy Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett at


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maryheywood said:

I have enjoyed Simon Bretts’ writing for some time – in particular the Charles Paris, Fethering Mysteries superbly crafted and written. However, the Blotto,Twinks debacle....... I’ve only read the Ex-King’s Daughter - it’s diabolical. Sorry pal, it isn’t good.

The ‘Wooster’ language ...don’t think so

James Anderson did a better job of a landed gentry family with wayward daughter who saves the day.

E Weedon said:

l bought 3 Blotto and Twink books and have read ex-kings daughter. l did enjoy it after a while and look forward to reading the others. l have read nearly all feathering mysteries and enjoyed them so expect to enjoy others series.