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3.7 out of 5
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  • LOL - I love Ethelred and Elsie's antics

    The constantly amusing tag team sleuthing style of two lovable slobs, eventually ends with a mystery solved, but who cares? Their tug of war resembles sibling rivalry more than romance, with plenty of bickering and verbal sniping to add to the fun. Detective action is very minimal, it's mostly a series of bumbling enquiries which lead, usually by accident, to the solution. A small supporting cast, not too challenging, entertains in small part. Elsie's stubbornness and her self interest, and Ethelred's gullibility, not to mention irritability, combine to make the crime itself seem of minor consequence to the tale. This pair are easily misled by witness perjury, and obvious red herrings do abound, hence the title of the series, but the diversions are, nevertheless, diverting. A happily meandering story this time also features excerpts from the fictional writers own fictional creation of Thomas, obscure clerk to the historical poet Chaucer, who cleverly is also tranparently manifesting Ethelreds own personal characteristics; he is obtuse, gullible and easily manipulated, by (of course) a feminine antagonist who strongly resembles our lovable Elsie. Not high literature by any means, but these books have grown on me, like a skin fungus I just have to scratch; it shouldn't feel this good to read them, but it really does!

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