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

This is the first in what is described as ‘a gloriously silly new series set in the 1920s and featuring a pair of aristocratic siblings: the honorable and handsome Blotto, who has all the brains of a billiard ball, and his sister, the beautiful and brilliant Twinks.‘ The dedication, ‘To Pete, who always had a taste for the silly‘ is also a give-away that this book is not to be taken too seriously.

I rather liked Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King’s Daughter. It is indeed silly in the P G Wodehouse style of Jeeves and Wooster silly, full of slang and poking fun at the amateur detective who is an expert in identifying toxins, reading clues and being several steps ahead of the plodding police. It begins when Blotto, the rather dim son of the Dowager Duchess of Tawcester, discovers a dead body in the library. The police, represented by Chief Inspector Trumbull, who although ‘deeply stupid‘, knows his place:

The role of the police was to do a lot of boring legwork and paperwork, to trail up investigatory cul-de-sacs, to be constantly baffled, and dutifully amazed when an amateur sleuth revealed the solution to a murder mystery. (page 9)

The body just happened to be that of one of the Ex-King of Mitteleuropia’s entourage,who are all staying at Tawcester Towers. Then the Ex-King’s daughter, the beautiful Ex-Princess Ethelinde is kidnapped and Blotto, together with his chauffeur Corky Froggett, sets off across Europe to rescue her. It does escalates into farce with Blotto fighting off canon balls with his cricket bat. There are also some pointed remarks about class, race and forms of government, such as this about the royal family and the British government because as Blotto explains as well as the monarch there is also:

…  this bunch of chappies called the House of Commons …  which is actually rather well named … because a lot of the boddos in there are rather common. You know some of them didn’t even go to minor public schools. Anyway they do all the boring guff … you know, making laws and increasing taxes and all that. But then there’s the House of Lords, which is where our sort of people go, and they do important things … like seeing that their own particular bits of the countryside get looked after … and finding ways of avoiding all these taxes that the little oiks in the House of Commons keep raising. It all seems to work rather well. (page 128)


… [democracy is] a system based on the illusion of consultation with the common people. (page 129)

As I said – I rather liked it.

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem; Reprint edition (16 Feb 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 9781934609699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609699
  • Source: Review copy