by J. I. M. Stewart ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 1980
Fledgling banker Tobias (Toby) Felton, adopted son to widower Howard Felton of historic Felton House, is stunned to arrive home one 1960s day and come face to face with his exact double--Andy, the new gardener's assistant! Can this Glasgow-accented, ill-bred fellow be sleek Toby's twin brother? Yes indeed: it transpires that the two babes were both rescued from a sinking WW II refugee ship, then separately put out for adoption. So Stewart's agreeable, lightly sexy novel follows the Felton family shake-ups that ensue from this coincidental brotherly reunion. Andy, labor-proud and canny behind the loutish exterior, isn't easily condescended to; good-willed attempts to polish him up and integrate him into tea-time chats are only half-successfuL And there are complications: Andy's attraction to his new ""aunt"" (Mr. Felton's artistic divorcee sister, who housekeeps); the determination of Toby's ""sister"" Ianthe (a Felton by birth) to ensure that Toby will inherit the estate; and the femme-fatale-ish doings of ambitious young neighbor Elma Loftus, who surprises her lover Toby by refusing marriage and playing the field instead. But eventually Andy does become terribly fond of his quasi-family--so, before taking off to manage his Glasgow auntie's candy-store chain, he arranges for happy endings all 'round: he does his best to help Ianthe realize that she's permitted to fall in love with ""brother"" Toby; and, when Elma is on the verge of trapping the elder Felton into marriage, Andy makes personally sure that Elma's promiscuity comes to light, thus saving Mr. F. from making a ""gran' fu' of himself."" As usual with Stewart (a.k.a. Michael Innes), it's all a trifle wordy, and perhaps too class-conscious for most U.S. readers--but, far less ambitious than Stewart's Pattullo series, this is leisurely, amusing, literately sly manor-house entertainment.
Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1980
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1980
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