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. 

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Our Book of the Week this week is A House Through Time by David Olusoga and Melanie Backe, which looks at British history through the lens of our homes. We have put together a list of similar non-fiction titles for you to look through and enjoy. Happy reading!

 

black and british book cover

Black and British, by David Olusoga

Published to accompany Olusoga’s BBC 2 series of the same name, Black and British calls for a re-examination of our nation’s history. Olusoga’s work illustrates how Black British history is all around us and has been for thousands of years. From Roman nobility, to medieval courtiers, to modern day street names, black and white Britons’ intertwined past is laid bare for all to read.

 

the anarchy book cover

The Anarchy, by William Dalrymple

In his in-depth examination of the East India Company, Dalrymple charts the transformation of the organisation from multinational trade company to aggressive colonial army. Within 40 years of its inception, the Company had amassed a security force of over 200 000 men, using them to subjugate the entirety of India by 1803. The Anarchy reveals the horrific exploits of the first global corporate power for a chilling account of Victorian colonialism.

 

love in the blitz book coverLove in the Blitz, by  Eileen Alexander

Told in letters, Love in the Blitz illustrates the lives of a couple, Eileen and Gershon, torn apart by war. Although Gershon’s letters have been lost to history, Eileen’s remain as a testament to their love. These letters are an incredibly intimate portrayal of life in London during WW2, particularly as they so eloquently illustrate the lives of women living and working during the Blitz. This is a must-read for any fan of wartime history, providing an inside perspective into the realities of living and loving through war.

 

in the land of men book cover

In the Land of Men, by Adrienne Miller

This fiercely personal memoir is Miller’s account of coming of age as a woman writer in the journalism industry. Miller was hired as an editorial assistant in her early twenties at GQ, dealing with misogyny and the unquestioned authority of powerful male egos on a daily basis. Miller’s book charts her journey to the top of her industry, making it an empowering read for any woman wanting to push the boundaries of her glass ceiling.

 

Some of these books are 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. 

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life of pi pic

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

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the great gatsby book cover

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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the alchemist book pic

 

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

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if beale street could talk book pic

 

If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin

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All of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a 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.

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