Book Review: The Clutter Corpse and Other Murders

Simon Brett photo
Author Simon Brett

Over to Zvezdana!

Simon Brett’s new leading character is Ellen Curtis, an amateur sleuth and decluttering expert. She even owns a decluttering agency, SpaceWoman, in Chichester. Her business grew from a casual favour, but when she finds a corpse in the old house, her world will change its course forever.

Glancing around my living room, God forbid peeping into the wardrobes, I feel that Ellen would be quite in her environment if she suddenly wandered into my flat. As many of us did during the lockdown, I attacked the clutter very fearlessly, at least for the first few days. Afterwards, the Proust effect took over and I was left almost choking on madeleine biscuits. Wherever you look, the ghosts of the past are waiting for the right time to ambush you.  I do not call myself a hoarder, but the idea of a professional declutterer sounds very appealing to me. Going through anyone’s accumulated belongings would make a good detective story, perhaps with the rosebud effect; even without hidden corpses. So, from the start I have been captivated by even the idea of Simon Brett’s new heroine and book. 

Ellen’s personal problems, her family history and how she deals with depression, make her very likeable and believable.  The backstory of The Clutter Corpse is almost as interesting as the main who-done-it thread.  Ellen joins other Brett’s famous amateur sleuths – a widow Mrs Melita Pargeter,  aging actor Charles Paris, and the Fethering ladies, Carol and Jude.  They are not flawless detectives; they gossip, they cheat, usually drink too much, have considerable memory baggage. They are mostly middle-aged people who frequently do not know how to deal with personal and other issues. That is exactly what makes them real; sometimes I like them and other times I just want to argue with them!

Humour and irony lace all Brett’s novels and characters. Be aware. It is hazardous reading Brett’s novels on public transport, especially now – with masks on and shaking with laughter.

I look forward to more in this series and expect to be delightfully entertained, as usual.  

If Zvezdana’s recommendation has piqued your interest, check out our (free!) Simon Brett event! Hear the author speak about his new book, The Clutter Corpse and Other Murders, and ask him any burning questions you may have! Tickets can be booked at the link here.

Clutter Corpse is available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is an RBKC library card and if you are not a member, don’t worry,  just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources. 

Ollie’s Big Surprise at Notting Hill Gate Library

Laila El-Boukilli, Senior Customer Services Assistant at Notting Hill Gate Library, writes: 

It’s been a storytelling season here at Notting Hill Gate Library- we’ve had Michelle Sami, who enlightened us with her animated, creative and charismatic stories, aimed at our younger readers; Sarah Deco, who  spooked us out with her winter storytelling, along with friends; and recently Marcel Feigel, who read his book, Ollie’s Big Surprise. Marcel delighted us with a fantastic reading and all the children met Leo the mouse and found out about his love for cheese!

 

Ollies Big Surprise
Ollie’s Big Surprise by Marcel Feigel

His enthusiasm filled the room and he encouraged everyone to participate in a competitive game of matching the cheese with the country (sounds delicious!)

MarcelFeigel

Marcel proved to be a popular man: children and parents were lining up to get a signed copy of Ollie’s Big Surprise, with their complimentary Hummingbird Bakery cupcake.

We are very grateful for Marcel taking the time to do this event and appreciate all the effort and wish him the best of luck for the future. We had a brilliant time with Ollie’s Big Surprise and we hope to see him again at Notting Hill Gate Library soon!

We would also like to thank The Hummingbird Bakery for all the cupcakes they have kindly donated to our library and for all the support they have given us for our events this year.

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Chris Riddell Display at Brompton Library

Christian, Brompton Library Customer Services Assistant, writes…

Chris Riddell was appointed Children’s Laureate in June in recognition of his prolific body of work as an illustrator and writer of children’s literature. Originally a political cartoonist for The Economist and currently The Observer (check out his drawings of Putin on the Iron Throne and other disturbingly accurate caricatures of our politicians), he is now best known for his beautifully detailed illustrations of strange characters, monsters and fantastic creatures in books for kids, most notably the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart.

Beautiful and intricate drawings from Riddell
Beautiful and intricate drawings from Riddell

We wanted to pay our respects to this home-grown talent with a humble display showcasing some of the books available in our libraries that feature his work. Resident library assistant and fellow illustrator, David Bushell created the poster and found a great selection of titles which have proved to be popular with the younger readers.

Our tribute to Chris Riddell
Our tribute to Chris Riddell

You can find more titles by Chris Riddell on the library catalogue.