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January 5th, 2012

2 of 52

Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up (Mrs. Jeffries Mystery, #17)Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up by Emily Brightwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, late Victorian housekeeper helps Police Inspector boss solve cases--behind his back, employing a cast of...well, it seems like thousands, but it's really roughly a dozen.

It's one of those books I cast in my head as I read it. Mrs. Jeffries is very Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, not Cabot Cove); Mrs. Goodge is played by "Mrs. Hudson"; Smythe is a cross between Bryan Brown and Hugh Jackman; Betsy is Amy Pond; Ludy is Kathy Bates (as in Titanic with just a touch of Cloris Leachman); Hatchett is very Edward Petherbridge; and the Inspector's Constable Barnes is a bit like Jude Law's Watson (albeit slightly older), but with a more unassuming mein. Unfortunately, the inspector himself (Witherspoon) has a bit too much Nigel Bruce and not enough Inspector Morse for my tastes--even his incipient romance with the Emma Thompson-ish Lady Ruth isn't enough to make me not want to clock him over the head so the Yard can promote someone actually competent--like Constable Barnes.

I think I read these books just so I can hang about in this part of London, before electric lights, but after that absurd obsession with the little Corsican bantam tyrant. Well, that and the endless pots of tea.

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