This fell way short of my expectations, after The Careful Use of Compliments
. The wry British humour is still there: especially the way in which he treats hallowed British institutions such as the MI6, the publishing industry etc. There are also passages which are outright funny, and will have you laughing. Consider the following gem:Americans do not mince their words - it is one of their great qualities, and indeed one of the great causes of misunderstanding between the United States and the United Kingdom, where words are regularly minced so finely as to be virtually unintelligible.
However, the overall product is a great rambling narrative comprising the lives of a group of people living in Corduroy Mansions, London which is apt to leave one confused and a little frustrated. The novel is second of a series, but even though it is supposed to be standalone, I felt that reading of the first book is mandatory if one is to understand the characters at all: also, many plot lines are left loose, possibly to be tied up in subsequent books. It reminded me of a mildly funny sitcom in which eccentric characters come and go as they please.
OK for a vacation weekend read, to while away those lazy afternoons.