The Sunday Salon

Today’s reading is a mixture of murder and farce.

Farce in the form of Something Fresh by P G Wodehouse which is brightening up this cold and frosty Sunday. I hesitate to write about it because the quote from Stephen Fry on the back cover tells me:

You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour.

But I will anyway. The aimable and definitely doddery Lord Emsworth absent-mindedly pockets first a fork at his Club luncheon and then a valuable scarab belonging to Mr Peters, the American millionaire and father of Aline engaged to be married to Freddie, Lord Emsworth’s feckless son. Mr Peters is the opposite of Lord Emsworth, driven by his devotion to collecting scarabs, which he pusues with the same  concentrated and furious energy that had helped him to amass his millions and chronic dyspesia. Lord Emsworth on the other hand is mild and placid, happy to bask in the park and gardens of Blandings Castle. I can see it’s going to get nicely complicated as Freddie, Aline, and their parents, George Emerson who insists he is going to marry Aline, Ashe Marson and Joan Valentine (both employed to retrieve the scarab) all go down to Blandings. Freddie meanwhile is scared he’ll be sued for breach of promise by Joan.

Then murder from Susan Hill’s The Vows of Silence, the fourth book in her Simon Serrailler crime novels.

So far this is a gloomy book not just because of the murders but also because of the unhappy state of Simon and his family. His brother-in-law is diagnosed with a brain tumour, his father has started a new relationship with Judith a year after his wife’s death much to Simon’s distress, and adding to his sister Cat’s problems Karin, one of her patients is suffering from aggressive and terminal breast cancer.  Simon, himself is unhappy, missing his mother, unable to understand his father, and quarreling with his sister. Add to all this a gunman apparently shooting young women without any motive, an uneasy, middle-aged couple starting a relationship through an online dating agency with their own individual family problems and it’s doom and gloom all the way.

The murderer is introduced in the first chapter, as “he” and switching rapidly between all the different characters (there are lots of them) and sub-plots intervening chapters reveal his state of mind. I don’t think it’s going to take me much longer to finish the book as it’s easy reading apart from the subject matter.

7 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon”

  1. I love Emsworth. I have this in a collection called Life at Blandings along with Summer Lightening and Heavy Weather. What a writer PGW is!

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  2. I pulled out a Susan Hill mystery out last night as a matter of fact (perhaps her first Serailler?). I’m looking forward to getting to it eventually.

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  3. Journeying around the country for New Year we were listening to P G Wodehouse on audio book and it made for such an amusing trip. It’s not that he’s outright funny, but that every line is steeped in humour. I haven’t read the one you mention, but I’ll look out for it for another time.

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  4. I like to follow a book by something totally different. It sounds like these two would certainly fit the bill of being opposites. I haven’t read anything by Susan Hill but am intrigued by this one. Thanks for the great reviews!

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  5. I’m reading the second Simon Serrailler book right now and I’m hooked! I’ll have to order the next ones from the UK. This one sounds depressing!

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