Recommendsday

Recommendsday: Country House-set books

For today’s recommendsday I have a selection of country house-set books of various kinds for your entertainment.

Summer Lightning by P G Wodehouse

I’m going to start with a comedic classic. Summer Lightning is the fourth of the Blandings books but I think it’s my favourite. It has all the ingredients you want: Lord Emsworth and his prize pig, Lady Constance trying to manage him, a pair of lovers and the Honorable Galahad writing his memoirs and setting the town in a stir. Oh, and the Efficient Baxter. You don’t need to have read the others in the series, and you should be able to get hold of it nice and easily.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

It’s not often that I recommend a classic is it? And now I’ve given you two in one post. If you haven’t ever read Waugh’s tale of Charles Ryder’s entanglements with the Flyte family, then you really should – even if you start off only doing it because it gets referenced (whether you know it or not) in other things! It’s not my favourite of Waugh’s – but I have returned to it a a few times now, not least because I have the audiobook which is read in wonderfully soothing tones by Jeremy Irons – who starred in the famous TV adaptation.

Death in Fancy Dress by Anthony Gilbert

The Secret Service are trying to catch a blackmailer. There’s a been an increase in the number of suicides that seemed initially unconnected, but where on investigation the dead person had all the appearance of being a blackmail victim. Tony is a young lawyer who finds himself entangles in the mystery when the unpopular Sir Ralph is young dead the night after failing to appear at a house party being held at the house of a young woman who has just tried to break of her engagement to another man so she can marry Ralph – seeming under duress. Who killed him – and who is the blackmailer? This is an interesting mystery, with a clever premise but is not always the clearest in its writing with a set of male characters who could feel a little interchangable. Or maybe that was just me! I still enjoyed it though – and when I read it it was in Kindle Unlimited too.

To be honest I’ve written about scads of books set in country houses – you could also add The Austen Playbook, the Cazalet series, several of the Roderick Alleyns – notably A Man Lay Dead and Death and the Dancing Footman – as well as a whole bunch of Georgette Heyers like The Unknown Ajax or the gothic My Cousin Kate.

Happy reading!

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