Hurrah for the return of that intrepid duo: Blotto (handsome, honorable, not the sharpest knife in the drawer), and his sister Twinks (just a bit brainier than a girl should be)! As this is the 1920s, they are of course attending a weekend house party, where – how astonishing! – a murder is announced. One of the guests has the gall to accuse Corky, the siblings’ family chauffeur, so Blotto and Twinks have no choice but to find the real murderer and clear Corky’s good name. Their sleuthing will take them to an opium den, a crumbling Scottish castle, and – most thrillingly – the headquarters of the evil League of the Crimson Hand.
Brett's second mystery set in 1920s England (after 2011's Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter) starts off as a passable Wodehouse imitation, but soon grows tiresome with its relentless wordplay, banter, and speech mannerisms evocative of Bertie Wooster (e.g., "Oh, trucky-trockle. Well, me old poached egg, tell me what your notion is zappity-ping"). The over-the-top plot finds the dim Honourable Devereux Lyminster (aka Blotto) and his brainy sister, Honoria (aka Twinks), investigating a murder that leads them to a sinister gang straight from the pulps, the League of the Crimson Hand. Wodehouse's genius lay in pairing memorably goofy characters with complex, rigorously constructed plots that maximized the farcical potential of misunderstandings and missteps. Brett's inability to do so renders this a slight diversion rather than a genuinely memorable comic mystery.