RogerBW's Blog

Ten Lords A-Leaping, Ruth Dudley Edwards 31 August 2019

1996 mystery, sixth in the Robert Amiss series. "Jack" Troutbeck, newly Baroness Troutbeck, enlists Amiss to help organise opposition in the Lords to an anti-hunting bill. But even she didn't expect it to be murderous.

It's entirely clear which side Dudley Edwards' sympathies are on: everyone opposed to hunting in this book is either a fool or a knave. Fortunately we spend more time with the pro-hunting faction, and here there's a bit more room for characterisation, with various people on the "right" side for different reasons and with different levels of public acceptability, and some of them even allowed to be bad.

Jack comes off quite well here: thoughtless, but mostly in the sense of expecting other people to put up with the same long hours and lack of rest she does, rather than deliberately cruel. Amiss, who's presumably not the author's favourite any more with Jack on stage, has become rather more of a wimp, and while most of the narration is centred on him one does at times start to wonder why.

‘Of course, it was the old passport,' said the baroness. ‘That nasty new red plastic thing that we've been dished out since we joined the wretched European Union wouldn't deflect a missile from a pea-shooter – another powerful argument against that frightful institution.'

‘I'll say for you Jack,' said Amiss, ‘that there is nothing, but nothing, that doesn't fuel your prejudices.'

She beamed.

The plot is a little outrageous, and certain connections never quite get made (gur zheqref ner qbar jvgu zvyvgnel-glcr uneqjner, ohg gur zheqrere qbrfa'g unir nal zvyvgnel rkcrevrapr), but as with several other mystery authors I've read the puzzle is mostly an excuse for the people anyway.

Series recommended by Gus.

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Previous in series: Matricide at St Martha's | Series: Robert Amiss | Next in series: Murder in a Cathedral

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 08:22pm on 31 August 2019

    More mis-information I see, dished out by a fictional character. It was the UK that suggested all EU passports should be the same colour, AND it isn't mandatory anyway! Brexit may have made me terminally cynical about UK politics, the sheer scale of the lies from all sides has been staggering.

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