Publish and Be Murdered

By Ruth Dudley Edwards

I’ve got an enormous backlog in reading matter owing to having been rather ill in the last few weeks. One of the books that have helped make the week bearable was this one. A really nice detective, I call it. There’s even a Wodehouse reference in it — rather in the open, but still.

Our hero, Robert (although it takes a few pages before we are privileged with knowing his Christian name, which makes remembering it a bit hard, especially if one’s head is stuffed with wet cotton wool) Amiss, is asked by the roprietor of a magazine that’s a cross between The Economist (and the author has done a history of The Economist) and The Gentleman’s Magazine. The magazine is costing the proprietor a few hundred thousand pounds a year to run, and Amiss is asked to cut that down a bit, within reason and the bounds of tradition. Which means two people are killed.

Nice, persuasive writing. I’m no fan of Tony Blair, but I don’t feel all that antagonistic towards him. I mean — he’s not governing my country, and we’ve got worse to deal with in the Netherlands. But on the whole I’m a far bit more to the left than The Economist, and still the author manages to persuade me when she has one of the characters tell Amiss that it’s perfectly all right if there’s one set of rules for the privileged and one set for the hoi polloi.

Fortunately that spell was broken by one look at my morning paper. Still, nice book, and I’ll read more from Ruth Dudley Edwards (funny, that anyone with a name like that can make so much fun in her own book of a person with a very similar tripartite name).