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Posts Tagged ‘Ruth Dudley Edwards’

Murdering Americans: A Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mystery #11: Robert Amiss Series, Book 11 (Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mysteries)

 

Baroness Jack Troutbeck has been invited to spend a semester at an American university as a visiting professor.  Those who know her well wonder what havoc she is going to wreak in academia and as she is taking the parrot Horace with her, how well he will go down at the university.  Jack really wants Robert and Rachel – spending their honeymoon travelling round Europe in a camper van – to go and spend some time with her in the US but they are not keen.

 

Having reorganised the cuisine of the hotel in which she is living to her satisfaction and started to educate her cheerleader assistant, Betsy, Jack discovers that there is definitely something fishy going on at Freeman University.  What precisely happened to the Provost who died ‘accidentally’ four years ago? What is the VRC and what is it trying to do?  Naturally Jack finds these mysteries intriguing.  I enjoyed this well written and highly amusing mystery novel.  The picture it paints of impossible political correctness and dumbed down learning where no one can fail – unless they say or do the wrong thing – is hilarious and highly disturbing.

 

Jack really came into her own in this the eleventh volume in this entertaining series.  Even though Robert wasn’t much in evidence, except through e-mails, for much of the book they still proved they are an excellent team.  I loved the way the finale was organised and found myself turning the pages faster towards the end as everything built up to a crisis.  This is the second time I’ve read this book and it stood up well to a second reading.  All this series can be read more than once and in any order.

 

 

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Carnage on the Committee: A Robert Amiss/Baroness &hellip by Ruth Dudley Edwards

 

Robert Amiss in a member of the judging panel for the prestigious Knapper-Warburton literary prize when Lady Hermione Babcock – chairman of the judges – is found dead.  Thanks to his intervention his old friend Baroness ‘Jack’ Troutbeck is asked to take over the panel.  But it seems someone may have it in for the judges when another member of the panel is found dead in suspicious circumstances.

 

Enter Jim Milton and Ellis Pooley from Scotland Yard to investigate.  I loved the characters in this book which satirises the behind the scenes activity in connection with literary prizes.  Jack of course manages to cut a swathe through the pretensions and gets up to speed on the books with the aid of Mary-Lou Denslow – a colleague at St Martha’s College of which Jack is the Mistress.

 

The plot is complex and it will take an observant reader to identify the murderer in advance.  Jack is at her most obnoxious best and some of the discussions between the judges are priceless as are the descriptions of the novels in contention for the prize.  If you like your crime novels laced with humour and satire then give this series a try – they can be read in any order.

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The Anglo-Irish Murders: A Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mystery #9: Robert Amiss Series, Book 9 (Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mysteries)

Baroness Jack Troutbeck and Robert Amiss have organised a cross cultural conference in Ireland to try and improve cultural understanding between the various factions in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.  Anyone who has ever tried to organise a conference will immediately be wincing in sympathy at such a prospect and it proves to be a minefield for them.  Jack is hardly the best person to get involved in anything where tact and diplomacy are concerned and the conference turns out to be hilarious for the reader if not for the participants.

 

I laughed out loud many times at the preposterous conversations and misunderstandings and the marvellously eccentric characters.   I liked the way Jack cut through all the posturing and Okinawa – the Japanese delegate – is a marvellous character.  This is probably one of the funniest books in this entertaining series.  The murders take second place to interaction between the characters so if you’re expecting a conventional crime novel then you may be disappointed.  As a portrait of the problems in Ireland I’ve no means of knowing how accurate it is but it definitely sounds plausible.

 

If you enjoy crime novels which are out of the ordinary then try this one – or any of the novels in this series – they are full of satirical portraits of people and institutions and are very amusing in my opinion.

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Publish and Be Murdered: A Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mystery #8 (Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mysteries)

Robert Amiss is asked by Lord Papworth to manage the journal The Wrangler in order to try and streamline things and cut costs.    Currently the journal is losing Papworth a great deal of money but he feels a duty to keep it going.  Robert soon finds there are savings to be made without upsetting any of the staff who all appear to think they are living in a more gentlemanly age.

 

When a member of staff is found dead with his head in a bowl of punch following one of The Wrangler’s regular parties Roberts wonders whether he was murdered.  Shortly afterwards the editor, Willie Lambie Crump is found dead too and Robert finds himself sitting in the editor’s chair with Baroness Jack Troutbeck at her outspoken best providing him with copy.

 

I loved this satirical portrait of a political magazine with its many eccentric characters with their posturing and their strongly held views.  My favourite were the two warring fact checkers and the receptionist who converts to Islam and insists on being addressed as Fatima.  I enjoyed reading about the minefields of political correctness which Robert had to negotiate.

 

This book is part of a well written series of murder mysteries which each satirise a particular aspect of The Establishment with amusing results.  There are deeper aspects to all the books and this one is no exception.  Matters of conscience and the difficulty of living up to ones principles present problems for the characters even while hilarious incidents are keeping the reader entertained.  This is the second time I have read this book and it stands up very well to a second reading.

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Product Details

Robert Amiss finds himself bullied into helping David Elworthy, a newly appointed Bishop, to find out what is going on in the cathedral by becoming his temporary personal assistant.  The person doing the bullying is Robert’s old friend Baroness ‘Jack’ Troutbeck who is an old flame of the Bishop’s.

 

Life in the cathedral close is full of incident and animosity with the resident canons at odds with one another and waspish with it.  There are some marvellously well drawn characters and some very amusing dialogue and Plutarch, Robert’s cat, creates her own brand of chaos.  Murder stirs things up and by means of a bit of skulduggery Robert’s friend, Ellis Pooley is seconded on an unofficial basis to help the local police’s enquiry.

 

This is one of the best books, in my opinion, in this entertaining mystery series.  You don’t need to have read the preceding books to enjoy this one.  If you enjoy totally outrageous characters – Jack Troutbeck is one of the best in fiction.  She is colourful, outspoken and totally irrepressible and lovable with it as well as being highly intelligent and observant.  The books, and this one is no exception, are well plotted and satirise British Institutions which gives added interest to the mystery part of the story.

 

 

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Ten Lords A-Leaping: A Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mystery: Robert Amiss Series, Book 6 (Robert Amiss/Baroness Jack Troutbeck Mysteries)

 

The irrepressible Jack Troutbeck has been made a life peer much to Robert Amiss’s surprise.  When she co-opts him as a researcher he soon finds himself in the middle of some very dangerous shenanigans where pro and anti-hunting factions are concerned.  Jack decides to make her maiden speech a pro-hunting one and decided to rally supporters against a bill currently proceeding through the Lords.

 

When several Peers are found dead following the debate Ellis Pooley and Jim Milton from Scotland Yard become involved and things start looking dangerous for Jack and Robert.  There are some marvellously funny scenes in this book – most notably those featuring Plutarch, Robert’s cat.  Both the pro and anti-hunting lobbies are satirised and animal rights activists come in for a fair amount of stick too.

 

This irreverent series takes apart some of the UK’s best loved and most hated institutions and provides interesting murder mysteries and lovable characters as well.  If you like your crime novels with interesting backgrounds and not too much violence on the page then you may enjoy this series.  The books can be read in any order but if you read them in the order in which they were published it’s easier to understand the development of the series characters.

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Matricide at St. Martha's: A Robert Amiss/Baroness&hellip by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Robert Amiss still can’t make up his mind what to do with his life when an old friend from his civil service days – ‘Jack’ Troutbeck – asks him to apply to be a Fellow at St Martha’s where she is Burser.  St Martha’s is a Cambridge college and Robert finds himself in a hot bed of political correctness where almost anything he says can be misinterpreted and probably will be.  Then the mistress of the college is killed in quite spectacular fashion and DS Ellis Pooley, a friend of Robert’s, is sent on loan to the Cambridge police force to help investigate the case.

 

This is fast paced romp of a mystery which introduces Jack Troutbeck a pipe smoking, out-spoken, tactless, highly intelligent maverick who can turn her hand to almost anything, is one of the bets books in this entertaining series in my opinion.  Jack makes an excellent foil for the more conservative Amiss and she features prominently in the rest of the series.

 

The satirical picture of gender equality and university life is superbly well done and had me laughing out loud on many occasions.  The mystery itself is complex and owes a certain amount to Dorothy L Sayers’ Gaudy Night which will entertain those who like spotting literary references.  This is one of my favourite books in this entertaining series.

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