*3.5 stars. I listened to this book during my commute and greatly enjoyed much of it. I had one main problem, however. Not being someone who buys into*3.5 stars. I listened to this book during my commute and greatly enjoyed much of it. I had one main problem, however. Not being someone who buys into a lot of what is deemed feminine or the extents to which many females go in their quest for youth and beauty, I found myself growing irritated by the numerous examples of the author falling into these traps. She seems to not want to be that sort of person, but evidence points to the contrary. That being said, there’s much to be amused by here and I appreciated many of Klein’s observations and witticisms. ...more
*3.5 stars. "Slingsby loomed in the doorway like a dignified cloud bank" (14). "Ma Price released her hold on the chair in order to fold her arms haught*3.5 stars. "Slingsby loomed in the doorway like a dignified cloud bank" (14). "Ma Price released her hold on the chair in order to fold her arms haughtily. This so nearly led to disaster that she hastily resumed her grip. There was, however, a distinct implication of haughtily folder arms in her voice" (41). "...and now this girl with her sinister verbs" (51). "...his manner lost its generous fire and became butlerine" (54). “‘In my young days, girls spoke respectfully to their fathers.’ “They probably had a different kind of father,’ said Violet” (110). “Only yesterday he had discovered that he he played the saxophone--the very last instrument, somehow, of which anyone would have suspected him” (141). “That air of being a football of Fate--and a well used football at that--had left him” (180).
“His spirits sank even lower. He perceived that he was up against French red tape, compared to which that of Great Britain and America is only pinkish“His spirits sank even lower. He perceived that he was up against French red tape, compared to which that of Great Britain and America is only pinkish” (8) “‘Good heavens, yes. Biff wouldn’t kill himself with a ten-foot pole’” (24). “...he marcelled his hair in a manner distressing to right-thinking people...He looked to Jerry like something unpleasant out of an early Evelyn Waugh novel…” (76). “‘Have you reflected that this policeman may have a wife and children?’ “‘He has a ginger mustache”” (78). “Love, or rather the tepid preference he felt for Kay, still animated the bosom beneath his well-cut waistcoat…” (184). “Boxers as a class rely for their appeal rather on their hearts of gold than on their looks, and Towser was no exception to this rule. Though inwardly all benevolence and camaraderie and good will, outwardly he was a canine Boris Karloff” (185). ...more
“At the words ‘marry again’ Mr. Llewellyn shuddered strongly, like a blancmange in a high wind” (10). “‘I wonder some mystery writer doesn’t make it th“At the words ‘marry again’ Mr. Llewellyn shuddered strongly, like a blancmange in a high wind” (10). “‘I wonder some mystery writer doesn’t make it the setting for a thriller. This stall I’m sitting in. The perfect place for finding a corpse underneath. A small corpse, of course. A midget, in fact, and one that had stunted its growth by cigarette smoking in boyhood’” (19). “The young man said, ‘Mr. Pickering here tonight, Mac?’ “To which Mac replied, ‘He’s round in front,’ which would not have been a bad description of the visitor propped against the wall, who was noticeably stout” (26). “...the opinion of those who had suffered at their hands that the crookedness of each was such as to enable him to hide at will behind a spiral staircase was universally held” (63). “...he saw now that Mr. Llewellyn was simply one of those lovable characters who readily explode but whose explosions, owing to their hearts being in the right place, are sound and fury signifying nothing” (74). “Her illusions where he was concerned were few” (101). “...Joe, whose morale was at its lowest ebb, threw off perhaps five percent of the gloom which was wrapping him as in in a garment…” (105). “Joe gave a sharp yelp like that of some fiend in torment on whose sore toe another fiend in torment has trodden” (106). “Mr. Trout’s courtly smile vanished as if it had been rubbed off by a squeegee” (116). “A five-pound note has many merits, too numerous to go into here, but it has the defect of not making a good missile” (117). “For the first time it struck him that there was an oddness in Mr. Trout this evening, as if he on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise, and he did not pay him a substantial annual retainer for doing that” (128). “...standing there making a noise like the death rattle of an expiring soda siphon…” (143). “‘I’ve been going through hell.’ “‘Good for the adrenal glands’” (175). “Joe gave him an admiring look, its effect, of course, largely diminished by the fact that they were talking on the telephone” (181). “‘I’ll come along,’ said Mr. Llewellyn, who knew the pleasure his company was bound to add to a meal” (185). “...the doorbell rang, and his torso and both his chins shook in sudden alarm” (185). ...more
*3.75 stars “One of its walls displayed an old Flemish tapestry of boors revelling, another an old Flemish tapestry of boors taking it easy for a bit”*3.75 stars “One of its walls displayed an old Flemish tapestry of boors revelling, another an old Flemish tapestry of boors taking it easy for a bit” (2). “It seemed to him to strike a note of almost wanton luxury, the sort of thing that causes French Revolutions and Declines and Falls of Roman Empires” (4). “...said Mrs Steptoe, stirring her coffee grimly and looking a little like a rattlesnake, if one can imagine a rattlesnake stirring coffee…” (5). “...but Mrs Steptoe had sent him out again to go and put a collar on. His air, which was sullen, made it plain that both in neck and spirit he was chafing under this treatment” (5). “This gorilla-jawed man could get a certain amount of noise-response even out of mashed potatoes, but it was when eating toast that you caught him at his best” (7). “‘I didn’t know that righteous retribution like this ever happened outside moral stories for children’” (9). “...his Adam’s apple was gambolling like a lamb in springtime” (11). “If somebody had to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel how much more agreeable if it were not he” (15). “‘I sometimes feel the best thing he could would be to throw himself away and start afresh” (19). “‘I don’t know if you know it, J.B., but you’re the sort of fellow who causes hundreds to fall under suspicion when he’s found stabbed in the library with a paper knife of oriental design’” (21-22). “Joss Weatherby had lived a hard and testing life, in which most of the things which looked good at first sight had proved to have a string attached to them” (41). “It was no kindly purveyor of hams and groceries who now stood brooding over the revels…” (45). “‘...my glamour would have wilted like a salted snail’” (51). “But he was practical. You have to be to build up a world-famous hammery” (56). “And she could not ask him flatly who he was and where he lived for that way lay the raised eyebrow and the bleak British stare” (75). “An instant before she could have been mistaken for a rattlesnake about to strike. Her air now became that of a rattlesnake which is prepared to reserve its judgment till it has heard all the fact” (80-81). “It was not for Joss to destroy this gossamer fabric of romance with the acid cleaning fluid of truth” (160). “Apart from his own, and excluding those of the Pekinese, the Alsatian and the cat, there were three lower jaws in the room, and each had fallen to its furthest extent” (281). “She had guessed, of course, that he was up to some kind of phonus-bolonus, but if you had asked her what particular kind of phonus-bolonus she would not have been able to tell you” (283). “He resented being used by this animal as a steppingstone by which it could rise to higher things” (290). “...seldom in a long career of looking like Mrs Siddons in Macbeth had she looked more like Mrs Siddons in Macbeth than right now” (293). ...more
“Mr. Llewellyn’s vocal delivery had been that of a turtledove accosting another turtledove of whom it was particularly fond…” (39). “It was simply the“Mr. Llewellyn’s vocal delivery had been that of a turtledove accosting another turtledove of whom it was particularly fond…” (39). “It was simply the thought that such a sound breaking the quiet hush of a house which had turned in for the night might cause comment that restrained the junior partners in the proposed enterprise from howling like indignant timber wolves” (64). “He had no objection to Mr. Llewellyn describing spades as spades, but he keenly resented his reference to Gertrude Butterwick as a beefy girl with large feet” (74). “Aristotle was all for sticking to pity and terror without a break, but he was wrong. It is a mistake to curdle the reader’s blood all the time” (87). “Gertrude assured him that mincing was the very last thing that would happen to her words” (92). “It was simply that she suffered from elephantiasis of the conscience” (94). “Where before he had been a mere toad beneath the harrow, under the influence of the generous fluid he had been converted into an up-and-coming toad that seethed with rebellion and intended to take a strong line with girls who did not mince their words when seated at their writing desks” (108-109). “Here Mavis did Monty an injustice, for he was not noticeably piefaced. Sandy Miller, indeed, from the very start of their acquaintance had thought his features super” (164). “He had commented to Sandy on the resemblance, as seen by an employee at Llewellyn City, between this man and the less lovable fauna of the Book of Revelations…” (182). “‘Talk sense,’ she said curtly, giving in two words evidence that her disbelief had not come within a million miles of being suspended” (198). “As she put it to herself, she had no more ideas than a rabbit, and everyone who has studied these animals knows how devoid they normally are of inspiration” (199). “...she had always held the view that if he had had an ounce more sense, he would have been half-witted” (215). ...more
*3.75 stars. Just a few things that made me chuckle: “‘Gur!’ said Jas. Pirbright, which is Shropshire for ‘You come along with me and I’ll shut you up*3.75 stars. Just a few things that made me chuckle: “‘Gur!’ said Jas. Pirbright, which is Shropshire for ‘You come along with me and I’ll shut you up somewhere while I go and inform his lordship of what has occurred’” (101). “‘Cor!’ said Lord Tilbury, rather in the manner of the moping owl in Gray’s ‘Elegy’ under similar provocation” (122). “Rising with the manuscript clutched to the small of his back, if his back said to have a small” (127). “He could not lay his hand gently on his nephew’s shoulder, for they were at opposite ends of a regulation-sized billiard table. But he infused a gentle hand-laying into his voice” (156). “The heavy breathing that came through the window could only be that of a parsimonious man occupied in writing a cheque for a thousand pounds” (213). “...and the thought of that two and a half mile walk to the Castle and its little brother, the two and a half mile walk back, intimidated him” (222). ...more
*4.5 stars “...having trousered the wages of sin” (12). “A nice sense of proprieties prevented Beach from endorsing this view verbally, but he sighed a*4.5 stars “...having trousered the wages of sin” (12). “A nice sense of proprieties prevented Beach from endorsing this view verbally, but he sighed a little wistfully” (14). “Her whole appearance radiated wholesome innocence. Not even an expert could have told that she had just received a whispered message from a bribed butler and was proposing at six sharp to go and meet a quite ineligible young man among the rose-bushes” (17). “He pottered off pigwards” (25). “She eyed her niece narrowly. But Millicent was a match for any number of narrow glances” (26). “At a moment less tense, Lady Constance would have taken time off to rebuke this flippancy; but she felt it would be unwise to depart from her main theme” (27). “Her laugh had reminded him, for his was a nature not without its poetical side, of ice tinkling in a jug of beer” (35). “‘Let me tell you I’ve known young Parsloe for thirty years and I solemnly state that if his grandmother was entered in a competition for fat pigs and his commitments made it desirable for him to get her out of the way, he would dope her branmash and acorns without a moment’s hesitation’” (67). “Short of putting it on the front page of the Daily Mail or having it broadcast over the wireless, the surest way of obtaining publicity for anything you wanted kept dark was to confide it to Hugo Carmody. A splendid chap, but the real, genuine human colander” (69). “A tousled literary man emerged” (70). “In his pantry, in shirt-sleeved ease…” (70). “He still thought Pilbeam should not have been wearing pimples with a red tie. One or the other if he liked. But not both” (82). “Hobbies, fishing, illuminating vellum and mangling the wurzel” (91). “‘She is the nearest thing to an angel that ever came glimmering through the laurels in the quiet evenfall in the garden by the turrets of the old manorial hall” (92). “This morbid strain, he felt, was unworthy of Nasturtium Villas Jones” (101). “...his tie drooping away from its stud like a languorous lily” (110). “‘Parsloe, you sheep-faced, shambling exile from Hell...’” (118). “She looked like something that might have occurred to Ibsen in one of his less frivolous moments” (128).
“‘But what’s wrong with all the rest of you? Ronald! Goes about behaving like a bereaved tomato’” (130). “‘What is that funny-looking gargoyle thing over there?’ “What she actually referred to was a Japanese mask which hung from the wall, and it was unfortunate that the Hon. Galahad should have chosen this moment to come out of the smoking-room. It made the question seem personal” (140). “The cloud was passing from what, for want of a better word, must be called Lord Emsworth’s mind” (141). “It may seem puzzling at first sight when ex-secretaries start falling as the gentle rain from heaven upon lobelias beneath, but there is always a reason for it” (146). “‘A bitter reckoning awaits the bloke’” (183). “There was nothing in his manner to suggest that the man he addressed had ever accused him of stealing pigs” (214). “The first effect on a young man of sensibility and gentle upbringing of the discovery that an unfriendly detective had seen him placing stolen pigs in caravans is to induce a stunned condition of mind, a sort of mental coma” (222). “The butler said in a rather reproving way that Miss Threepwood was at the moment busy drinking soup. Hugo, with the first flash of spirit he had shown for a quarter of an hour, replied that he didn’t care if she was bathing in it” (223). “‘Hugo?’ “‘Millicent?’ “‘Is that you?’ “Yes. Is that you?’ “‘Yes.’ “Anything in the nature of misunderstanding was cleared away. It was both of them” (223). “And now into the space of a few hours he had crammed enough variegated lunacy to equip all the March Hares in England…” (235).
“...numbed him like a blow from what the papers always call ‘some blunt instrument’” (13). “It was with the sullen repulsion of a vegetarian who finds“...numbed him like a blow from what the papers always call ‘some blunt instrument’” (13). “It was with the sullen repulsion of a vegetarian who finds a caterpillar in his salad that he now sat glaring at them” (15). “I have often wondered what General Sherman would have said about private tutoring, if he expressed himself so breezily about mere War” (20). “...with an air of crushed gloom which would have caused comment in Siberia” (26). “...it has a touch of the woodland violet nestling among orchids” (28). *Regarding a simply labeled door. “...it was recognized that nothing is a greater breach of etiquette and worse form than to tap people unexpectedly on the shoulder. That, it was felt, should be left to those who are paid by the Government to do it” (29). “He might have been posing for a statue of Amiability” (33). “To attract attention in the dining-room of the Senior Conservative Club between the hours of one and two-thirty, you have to be a mutton-chop, not an earl” (34). “‘You were speaking of the attractions of life in the country, your lordship. You included the birds in your remarks’” (35). “His hobby was avoiding hobbies and attending to business” (40). “Each, in fact, was to the other a perpetual freak-show with no charge for admission” (43). “It is the saddest spectacle in the world, that of the crowd collected by a ‘Wanted’ advertisement. They are so palpably not wanted by anyone for any purpose whatsoever: yet every time they gather together with a sort of hopeful hopelessness” (73). “Mr. Beach was too well bred to be inquisitive, but his eyebrows were not” (100). “Mr. Beach’s eyebrows were still mutely urging him to reveal all” (100). “It pleased the company. The room shook with mirth” (115). “He did not suspect them of this or that definite crime: he simply suspected them” (123). “‘My particular brand of mental suggestion doesn’t work at long range. I shan’t hope to influence you by telepathy’” (181).
“‘I regard her as the sand in Civilization’s spinach’” (132). “‘...I was in a confused mental condition owing to having been up most of the night, reve“‘I regard her as the sand in Civilization’s spinach’” (132). “‘...I was in a confused mental condition owing to having been up most of the night, revelling with triumphant hams’” (147-148). “The whole thing reflects great credit upon Lady Abbott, for she had never been an enthusiastic pedestrian” (164). ““The sight of those silver waters, in which he longed to be sporting like the porpoise he rather resembled, tantalized him” (194). “...with the rather exhausted look of the man who has been dividing by five in his head” (211). “All trace of animosity left the nudist” (220). “Everywhere on its surface was to be detected the sepia maelstrom of young Cyril Atwater’s clammy thumb” (255)....more
“And a man who is engaged to be married and who, already, is not any too popular with the bride-to-be, shrinks--automatically, as it were--from blue-e“And a man who is engaged to be married and who, already, is not any too popular with the bride-to-be, shrinks--automatically, as it were--from blue-eyed, golden-haired females in pink negligees picked out with ultramarine love-birds” (19). “Mr Silvers may not have had ideals, but he unquestionably knew what to do when you handed him a still and a potato” (22). “Pongo started to grind his teeth, but he had a chunk of potato in his mouth at the moment and was hampered” (33). “Here was a chap, notoriously one of the best, as sound an egg as ever donned a heliotrope sock” (35). “...making the while a low sound like the rumbling of an only partially extinct volcano” (54). “However the luck of the Widgeons saw them through…” (57). “...because a fellow all by himself on the bank of a river shouting ‘Prudence! Prudence!’ is apt to give a false impression to any passer-by who may hear him” (60). “...sending his adversary base over apex into a bed of nasturtiums” (63). “It was at this juncture that he found that he had no trousers on” (64). “He swallowed two grapes at once in surprise” (68). “Percy continued to stare before him like a man who has drained the wine-cup of life to its lees, only to discover a dead mouse at the bottom” (79). “‘Permit me,’ said Freddie, suave to the eyebrows” (94). “The girl was like a chunk of ice-cream with spikes all over it” (95). “The effect, therefore, of about a quarter of a pound of mixed solids on the windowpane was to bring him pealing out of bed as if a skewer had suddenly come through the mattress” (112). “Furthermore, he was, as I say, in a highly nervous condition as the upshot or aftermath of the banquet of the Society of the Loyal Sons of Worcestershire” (113). “Always a natty dresser, today he had eclipsed himself” (124). “Then, wiping his lips with the napkin provided by the management, he strode from the bar to face the hopeless dawn” (140). “If he had a mind, there was something on it” (141). “Pongo absolutely-ed heartily” (143). “...he had a sort of notion that oiling into a perfect stranger’s semi-detached villa on the pretext of pruning the parrot was a tort or misdemeanour” (146).
“‘Possibly my parrot has got something the matter with it which he is reluctant to mention even in sign language in front of a young unmarried girl’” (157). “‘And they’ve opened a pot of my raspberry jam.’ “‘Ah, then you will be able to catch them red-handed’” (159). “‘...and I ask myself--How can I leave this foul hole a better and happier foul hole than I found it?’” (159). “Nothing in the previous conversation--we had been speaking of mangel-wurzels--had led up to the remark” (161). “‘But the storm-clouds, I regret to say, were only just over the horizon. The tempest which was so nearly to wreck the bark of Love had already begun to gather’” (162). “‘...and now you’re a sort of emperor of the Glooms’” (165). “‘You wouldn’t know a martyred proletariat if they brought it to you on a skewer with Bearnaise sauce’” (165). “There was a silence. Sir Rackstraw was quivering as if the word had been a bullet and he the rhinoceros which in his less cordial moods he somewhat resembled” (187). “‘I sometimes think that gentlemen do not realize how distressing it is for a butler to have to listen to their after-dinner stories’” (188). “And if you could tie that, even in a Russian novel, he would like to know how” (189). “She seemed suspicious. Her gaze, unlike her waist-measurement, was narrow” (191). “I have little or no acquaintance among the pure and beefy ladies who play heroines in our Number Two towns…” (191). “This is an age of specialization, and if you take the specialist off his own particular ground he is at a loss. Mordred’s genius, as we have seen, lay in the direction of starting fires. Putting them out called for quite different qualities, and these he did not possess” (208). “He knew he should be scorning them, but it is not easy to go about scorning people in a dressing-gown, especially if you have no socks on and the night breeze is cool around the ankles” (210).
“He waggled as Hamlet might have waggled, moodily, irresolutely” (13). “It is not easy to hiss a sentence without a single ‘s’ in it, and the fact that“He waggled as Hamlet might have waggled, moodily, irresolutely” (13). “It is not easy to hiss a sentence without a single ‘s’ in it, and the fact that he succeeded in doing so shows to what pitch of emotion the man had been goaded by Ferdinand’s maddening air of superiority” (22), “To Ferdinand’s fevered eye he looked like a Greek god, and his inferiority complex began to exhibit symptoms of elephantiasis” (27). “The lunches of fifty-seven years had caused his chest to slip down into the mezzanine floor…” (96). “...but Chester, glowing with the yeasty intoxication of love, laughed lightly” (100). “All Nature was one vast substantial smile” (137) “The secretary rose with a whirr like a rocketing pheasant” (139). “...there were three things in the world that he held in the smallest esteem--slugs, poets, and caddies with hiccups” (146-147). “‘I think I will go and see Jane and make tactful inquiries’” (149). “Her fiance’s name having slid into the conversation again, she seemed inclined to become eloquent about him. I left her, however, before she could begin. To one so strongly pro-William as myself, eulogistic prattle about Rodney Spelvin was repugnant” (151). “...she writhed on the horns of a dilemma” (194). “It seemed to her one of those nests in which, as the subtitle of Tried in the Furnace had said, only eggs of evil are hatched” (198). “‘Woman, said William, ‘where is your paramour?’” (198). “‘Your partner in sin, where is he? I am going to take him and tear him into little bits and stuff him down his throat and make him swallow himself’” (198). ...more