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.