By Simon Brett
Felony & Mayhem Press, $14.95, 224 pages

In Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Dutchess, by well-known British mystery writer Simon Brett, it is difficult to know for sure what was intended:  humor certainly, and perhaps in the form of satire or spoof. Whatever was intended, this otherwise accomplished author exaggerated the story and characterizations to the point of silliness.  Set in the 1920s, overblown popular jargon and colloquialisms were repeated ad nauseum. At the beginning of the story, an amateur sleuth is described  as a “polymathic amateur sleuth” over and over as though that were the character’s actual name.  To indicate agreement or pleasure, such phrases as “that’s ticky-tocky” and exclamations of “hoopie doopie” were peppered throughout. These may have been accurate colloquialisms of the time, but it seems unlikely and would hardly excuse so much repetition.  However, recognizing that each reader possesses a unique sense of humor, some may find the book humorous and entertaining.  Since this is Brett’s second book in the series featuring Blotto and Twinks, some readers evidently do find it enjoyable.  But this reviewer found the characters and story line so silly as to be entirely tedious, so any recommendation is given with serious caution.

Reviewed by Rosalie West