Author: Simon Brett, 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery. Thriller. Parody. 1920s.
Other Details: Hardback. 200 pages.
While giving a guided tour of Tawcester Towers' Long Gallery Blotto is stunned to discover that two of the family portraits - a Gainsborough and a Reynolds - are missing. Blotto immediately summons his brilliant sister Twinks, who instantly deduces that the paintings have been stolen by a gang of international art thieves based in Paris. So Blotto and Twinks set off for France. Their investigations in Paris bring them into contact with the absinthe-soaked art community of the Rive Gauche though after an attempt on Blotto's life they move on the French Riviera on the trail of the criminal mastermind behind the thefts.
More silliness with Blotto & Twinks! Naturally as they are in France there are plenty of jokes aimed at the French. The modern art scene of the period and the 'Lost Generation' of intellectual Americans in 1920s France are also targets. I adore this witty, playful series which is a broad parody of the Golden Age Detective Fiction and upper class comedies of manners. I probably appreciated that latter aspect more this time after encountering Nancy Mitford's novels for the first time recently.
Author: Herbie Brennan, 2006.
Genre: Contemporary YA Fantasy. Faerie.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio; Length: 11 hours, 20 mins. Narrated by James Daniel Wilson.
This novel chronicles Henry's third visit to the Faerie Realm, where Princess Holly Blue is now Ruler of the Realm. Lord Hairstreak, who has been the chief baddie in the earlier books, appears to be proposing a truce between the Faeries of the Night and the Faeries of the Light and Holly Blue must consider this as one of her first political tests. Meanwhile, her brother Prince Pyrgus has stumbled across some mysterious crystal flowers that may be a secret weapon. there are also rumours of a demon invasion led by Beleth, the Prince of Darkness.
I've been continuing with this series as my audiobook in the car for the last month. I felt this third outing was a little less confident in its pacing and wandered a little but was still good fun. The short chapter format was very well suited for short car trips. I was a little thrown off by the change in narrators from Gerald Doyle to James Daniel Wilson, especially as he decided to pronounce Prince Pyrgus' name differently to Doyle, which bugged me to no end for a while. Still, he had a wide range of character voices, which he used to good effect especially the humorous ones. He obviously had great fun with the reading and that was infectious..