Ok, I confess. It’s post time and I am empty of ideas. The day started badly because I had to be awake early for the heating duct repairman, so despite multiple coffees my brain is still stuck in first gear. What to write? The repairman thinks my overfed cats have been sleeping on the heating ducts and breaking them at the joins. Nice to know but hardly worth blogging about.
Looking out my window I can see blue sky and bright sunshine which should cheer me up but the wind is so strong it’s making the branches of the gum trees dance like 1980′s go-go dancers. Being outside is not much fun today so I’ve decided I’m not going to blog about the weather. [sighs of relief from off-stage]
In truth I was seriously considering playing truant today and not blogging at all, after all I can’t exactly sack myself now can I? But then, just as I was about to log out I remembered something! [drum roll] I remembered that a couple of days ago I watched a brilliant music video on Bluebird Blvd. The video was called ‘Doehemian Rapsody’ and it made me laugh, sing and generally act the fool. It brightened my day then and I hope it brightens your day now. Enjoy!
Here in Australia it’s Friday already and what better way of starting happy hour than by telling you all about ‘More Barsetshire Diary’, the third book by Lord David Prosser.
For those who have not yet discovered Lord David’s humorous tales of life in Barsetshire do not fear – each of the books can be read without reference to the previous ones, however once you visit Barsetshire I think you will find the place addictive and the characters unforgettable.
In More Barsetshire Diary Lord David, our seemingly naive and very slightly daft hero takes on the herculean task of trying to turn Awful Edna into a charismatic political contender in the local government stakes. Edna, who is married to the present Mayor, is a prickly character who has the people skills of a porcupine and the dress-sense of Bozo the Clown. To complicate matters, Lady Julia [Lord David's wife and much loved 'regular'] has been dragooned into helping raise funds for the restoration of a run-down ancestral seat belonging to Dowager Duchess Diana. The Dowager Duchess is twice as formidable as Edna and failure is not an option! Between Lady J, Edna and the Duchess Lord David is forced to reveal that he has a secret weapon – diplomacy!
Of course while Lord David is putting his talents to the service of Duchess and county, Oscar is putting his talents into Lord David, one claw at a time. In this David and Goliath struggle between man and cat, the cat always wins but is that not how it should be?
I knew before I even turned to the first page that I was coming ‘home’ and I was not disappointed. The delicious humour I have come to expect from Lord David was as witty as ever but this time I discovered some hilarious cartoons added to the mix. I laughed my way through this delightful book and I’m sure my life expectancy has increased because of it! Forget the vitamin supplements and just spend a few hours chuckling as you read More Barsetshire Diary; I guarantee you will feel better for it!
I have been reading at a breakneck pace lately and still have M.R.Mathias’ book to review but I simply could not resist writing about the Queen’s Envoy first. This is Lord Daud’s second book – although chronologically it comes before My Barsetshire Diary – and was every bit as good as the first, hence my enthusiasm in writing this review.
Sequels, or in this case prequels, generally suffer from second child syndrome – we know what to expect so the element of surprise is gone. Thankfully Lord Daud has given us a twist to replace that initial element of surprise.And from that twist comes the title ‘Lord Daud’.
In The Queen’s Envoy our seemingly naive and slightly daft protagonist becomes a lord of the realm, having inherited the title from a distant relative. The dust has barely settled from that surprise before he learns that with noblesse comes oblige. Duty to the realm arrives in the person of Lord Bertie, a shadowy mover and shaker of officialdom who asks our hero to undertake a delicate negotiation with the Sultan of Beritana. Our hero agrees – what else can he do in the circumstances? – and heads off to Beritana with deep misgivings about his ability to pull off this coup. At the Saudi airport he is hailed as Lord Daud, a nickname that will stick a la ‘El Aurens’.
I mention Lawrence of Arabia with intent because Lord Daud accomplishes his mission in a style reminiscent of both the great Aurens… and Mr Bean! In later missions Lord Daud adds the mantle of Inspector Maigret and James Bond to his persona but he never loses the delightful naïveté of Mr Bean.
These missions for Queen and Country are very funny but by the end of the book I could not help wondering whether Lord Daud might not be a tad more canny than he appears. This suspicion adds an extra layer of humour to his everyday exploits back in Barsetshire where Lady J is as sharp and delightful as ever and Oscar [the cat] gains a sidekick for a short while.
Speaking of Oscar, one of the most hilarious scenes in the book is when the cat – and his sidekick the kitten – monster Lord Daud in his bed. Think Garfield with Lord Daud as Odie! Priceless.
I honestly do not know how much of Lord Daud’s diaries are based on reality and how much on pure imagination but either way they are fresh, beautifully written and incredibly ‘more-ish’. I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with in book three.