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. 


The Brompton roundup- January 2014

A Belated Happy New Year to all our friends and readers!

We hope you all had wonderful holidays and are ready to face the joys and challenges of 2014. If you are new to this blog, it is an insight into some of the great activities and events that have taken place recently or will be happening soon. It also allows our staff to share their thoughts and experiences of working in our library. Enjoy!

Resident pop-culture geek Christian Stevens writes: Every week Brompton receives new stock that is tailored to suit the demands of our readers and local residents. Some of our new titles that I would recommend for fans of adventure books are popular titles such as Clive Cussler’s Mirage and The Tombs, as well as Chris Ryan’s Extreme Most Wanted. I have also ordered in some new graphic novels including Crecy and Fell, two great books from one of my all-time favourite writers – the legendary Warren Ellis, and the first three volumes of Ghostbusters by IDW -a stylish comic adaptation of the original movies including fantastically ghoulish artwork and amusing storylines that really captures the feel of the 1984 classic movie. I would also recommend checking out the new thriller movie Jack Reacher (based on popular Lee Child novel One Shot), in which Tom Cruise is surprisingly watchable as the eponymous former military police officer called in to deal with a mass-murdering sniper. Sports fans can now also rent a copy of Rush starring Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt, whose fierce rivalry with Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season is legendary.

They say the greatest wealth is health, well now you can get some free advice from a health trainer on the second Wednesday of every month between 2-4pm. This is a chance for anyone over 18 to get a free health-check, diet advice and healthy lifestyle information to help you reach your personal goals.

Our Health Trainer
Our Health Trainer


Our Communities, Our Stories

Stephanie Webb Librarian, writes: Here at Brompton we’re half way through a really exciting project bringing together older residents with young local school children. We’re working with the lovely “Celebrate My Library” (Hilary and Victoria) and our new partners, the Kensington and Chelsea Older Residents Forum.

Planning the sessions
Planning the sessions

We had a planning meeting with our older residents at the beginning of January and then mid-month we had the first event giving our 2 groups time to compare life as a child during and after WW2 with life as a child now. The kids couldn’t believe the older residents didn’t eat pizza when they were young and but our young Philippina could chat away quite happily with the older Trinidadian resident who was brought up among fruit trees and farm animals!

Our Community, Our Stories
Our Community, Our Stories. The dress you can see hanging up is the blue silk wedding dress that belonged to the mother of one of our residents.


Working at the clothes table our young volunteer works on a mood board to convey fashion of the rich and famous of the time.
Working at the clothes table our young volunteer works on a mood board to convey fashion of the rich and famous of the time.

At the end of the session each young person read out their creative writing which Celebrate My Library have taken away to craft into a fantastic book. At the beginning of March we’ll all get to together again for the book to be revealed and to celebrate a fantastic experience all round.

We had great feedback from young and old alike who all thought it was an excellent idea and the older residents especially said how much they’d enjoyed it!

Hieroglyphics Workshop at Brompton Chatterbooks

Think like an Egyptian!

This month the Chatterbooks reading group explored one of the most ancient languages and created their own words and phrases out of the symbols.

Children learnt about hieroglyphs by writing and reading, using a worksheet and a number of games. The group focused on hieroglyphs related to pharaohs or to gods.

They also wrote their names in the beautiful ancient Egyptian script.

By Babita Sinha; Senior Customer Services Assistant

Love Music, Love Reading

David Bushell; resident rock-star and graphic designer, writes: One of the best things about working in the library is constantly coming across the hidden gems on the shelves. I’m always surprised by how many items I see where I think “oh, I want to read that!” or in the case of the CD collection, “oh I want to listen to that!” Coming across the critically acclaimed Neil Young autobiography, I thought the same, and again when sorting through the ‘Y’ section in the music catalogue. This gave me the idea of the current display, where you can choose from a wide range of music related biographies, and in some cases, issue the CD to listen to as well. Perhaps, if you’re in the mood, you can give yourself a sound track while you read! If you love music and reading as much as I do, this can be for you.

New books and music at Brompton
New books and music at Brompton





The Brompton Blog – November 2012

Brompton Library
Brompton Library

So, it’s our  third blog post and only about a month to go until Christmas now. I’m sure you have all bought and wrapped your presents already…oh you haven’t?

Don’t worry! If you need something to keep the kids quiet while you get on with the festive preparations, come down to Brompton Library where we have a selection of children’s Christmas books that should keep them quiet- hopefully for a few minutes!

The last month has felt progressively busier in the library as students of all ages return or start their studies – it feels like lots and lots of them have joined the library and we’re very happy about that.  They are making good use of the free computer access and wi-fi and hopefully they will be borrowing lots of books too!

At the end of October our new “Saturday Storyland” sessions for under-5s got off to a great start. I was very pleased to see mums and dads sharing the event with their children, listening to the stories, singing along with the rhymes and then playing with the dressing up costumes or drawing and colouring-in. Katie, Babita and Elisabeth, our Senior Customer Services Assistants will share the sessions along with Lisa, our great volunteer, who stays with us until midday to help keep the kids amused and engage with the parents to promote our other children’s events and the library service in general. And, best of all, she tidies up after they’ve all gone!

Samuel Johnson Prize for Non- Fiction- Shortlist
Samuel Johnson Prize for Non- Fiction- Shortlist at Brompton Library

I’m proud to say that, for once, Brompton Library was able to display the entire shortlist, including the winner, of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2012. It’s the richest non-fiction prize in the UK, worth £20,000 to the winner. As I write, five of the six titles are still on display despite enthusiastic tweeting!

Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb, Lending Librarian

Information and Book Displays at Brompton Library

We have lots of  information on display from different organisations, library information, council information and current events such as:

– The Nour Festival of Arts, events are still happening this month
– The London History Festival, events are from 19 to 28 November
– The Winter Season at the Finborough Theatre and The Chelsea Theatre

We also have displays of new library books, recommended books to read and displays of books on different topics which are changed regularly.

New Books on Display at Brompton Library
New Books on Display at Brompton Library

 Pop in to see what we have or check the online library catalogue for new items coming in.

Elisabeth Brown
Elisabeth Brown

Elisabeth Brown, Senior Customer Services Assistant  

Book Break in Kensington and Chelsea

Book Break groups are small friendly shared reading groups provided by the award winning social enterprise, The Reader Organisation  in partnership with Kensington and Chelsea libraries.  The groups meet weekly to share great literature with others, with the odd cup of tea and biscuits too!

Groups read a wide range of short stories, novels, plays and poems.  Recently the groups have read:

  • ‘The old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemmingway
  • ‘Cry the Beloved Country’ by Alan Paton
  • ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier
  • Poems by John Keats, Sheenagh Pugh and Charles Bukowski

There is no pressure to read aloud, some people prefer to listen to others read.  During the session words and thoughts in the story are discussed along with what they mean to us.  Everyone has a chance to respond if they wish to.

Come and join in with one of the many Book Break groups in Kensington and Chelsea:

  • Mondays 2 to 4pm New Horizions (50+ group), Sloane Square, SW3 5EZ
  • Mondays 6.15 to 7.45pm and Thursdays 3 to 5pm, Chelsea Library, Kings Road, SW3 5EZ
  • Tuesdays 10.30am to 12.30pm, Brompton Library, 210 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0BS
  • Wednesdays 10.30am to 12 noon, Kensal Group at St Charles Wellbeing Centre (ground floor entrance), W10 6DZ
  • Wednesdays 3.15 to 5pm, PCT Rooms, 15 Gertrude Street, SW10 0JN
  • Thursdays 1.30 to 3pm, Latymer Centre, 116 Bramley Road, W10 6SU

A warm welcome will be extended to you if you join us.  Please come along! For more information please contact:

Megg  on 077 8689 8814 or

Rosie on 078 0710 6815 or

Lost and Found at Brompton Library!

And as promised last month here is a list of strange items left in the library:

• Baby buggy ( no one missed it, as it was never collected)
• Domestos
• Walking stick ( due to the healing effect of books)
• Comb
• Driving licence
• Toilet plunger and toilet paper
• A bag of dry bread
• Lap top
• Framed old family photographs
• School bags
• Certificate