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Witty and wicked
on 19 July 2011
This book is a beautifully presented spoof for adolescents and adults; it will appeal to those with a wicked (nay, warped???) sense of humour. Many of the letters are actual separate pieces of paper stuck in; others are enclosed in proper envelopes, so it is all very amusing and well-designed. The "author" is a nasty little girl with an obsession who has been writing to (among others) Conan Doyle, J M Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, Madame Blavatsky - all those figures of the turn of the century who expressed a rather dodgy interest in the supernatural and fairies in particular, so the replies are quite cleverly written in character. There are a lot of "in" jokes that the literary-minded will get, but kids wouldn't. Read Sarah Pitt's excellent 4-star review for more.
The drawback is that, once you've read through it (it would take a fast reader about half an hour) the joke is over, and some of the literary humour is a tiny bit predictable. This is, I admit, a drawback with many books in this genre, but compared to, say, a Terry Pratchett novel, packed with a similar vein of humour and bearing many re-readings, it makes for poorer value for money.
The anti-inspiration is clearly the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady; if you loved that, you'll probably hate this, and vice versa. Look on it as one up from a funny greetings card for a friend who you want to treat, but don't know what to get.