This send-up of the Golden Age mystery stars the amiable but incredibly dense Blotto and his sister Twinks, who is both staggeringly beautiful and extremely intelligent. The story begins with the discovery of a body in the library (of course), which happens to belong to a visiting dignitary from Mitteleuropia. The exiled King Sigismund and his retinue are staying at Blotto and Twinks’ home due to a recent coup in Mitteleuropia by the ex-king’s traitorous brother. But the body in the library turns out to be the least of Blotto and Twinks’ worries when they stumble upon a plot to kidnap the ex-king’s daughter. Now they must save the ex-princess, infiltrate the Mitteleuropian court, and restore King Sigismund to his rightful place on the throne.
As with most parodies, enjoyment of the humor will vary widely from reader to reader; personally, I liked it and thought it worked well. The plot is, of course, ridiculous and wildly improbable, but that’s part of the fun. The characters are also fairly two-dimensional; even Blotto, the protagonist (of sorts), doesn’t really have any depth. But again, in my view, that’s not the point of the book. Rather, this novel is a playful homage to the classic British cozy, with more than a few nods to P.G. Wodehouse thrown in. Anyone who likes the Golden Age of mysteries would probably find a lot to enjoy and appreciate in this novel. That said, the jokes do get a bit repetitive, and they’re also not particularly subtle, so I can understand why some people might find the whole thing irritating rather than amusing. In my opinion, though, the book succeeds in being a fun, silly read, and I’ll most likely continue with the series.