Did you ever see such a cheerful book cover? It attracted me at once at the library and then I found that Blotto, Twinks and the Rodents of the Riviera is the third in a detective series by Simon Brett. It’s very different from the Fethering books. Blotto is the Honourable Devereux Lyminster, younger son of the late Duke of Tawcester. Twinks is his sister, Lady Honoria Lyminster. Both are impossibly beautiful but Blotto is extremely thick (though handy with a cricket bat both on and off the pitch) while Twinks is ‘a Grade A brainbox’. Her powers of deduction are Holmesian; finding a shred of fabric she says, ‘I’d say it’s forty thou to a fishbone that these gloves were bought from Maison Grière in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Michel in Paris.’
Dirty deeds at Tawcester Towers when the pair discover that two valuable paintings have been stolen. They hie them to Paris where at Les Deux Mangetouts they meet Twinks’ old friend Dimpsy with two painters called Blocque and Tacquelle. Soon they are joined by American writers Chuck Waggen and Scott Frea. Yes folks, this is how the book goes on, relentlessly. Blotto and Twinks speak a language all their own: ‘Toad in the hole!’ (an expression of surprise); ‘reading your semaphore’ (now I get you), and address each other as, ‘Twinks, me old sheet of blotting paper’ or ‘Blotto, me old tinkling sackbut’, rarely using the same soubriquet twice. It’s quite tiring. Off they go next to the Riviera for a thrilling battle with a criminal mastermind and his midget henchmen involving secret passages, sewers and a beautiful American film star. The author manages to keep up his bizarre use of language with unfailing ingenuity for two hundred pages. It’s all quite ridiculous but I shouldn’t be surprised if I read another in the series.