New Daisy Waugh Novel Includes a Brideshead Spin-off

Daisy Waugh’s latest novel entitled In the Crypt with a Candlestick will be published next month. The novel is described in an interview of the author by the Daily Mail as having a Brideshead Revisited “spin-off” theme in the plot:

Waugh’s granddaughter’s new effort, she told Tatler, is a ‘comic novel with some murder thrown in,’ and aims to poke fun at the British upper class, which she called the ‘only people writers are allowed to make jokes about any more.’

The heroes of her upcoming novel are the Tode family, from Tode Hall, who she says live in a fabulous stately home. The Brideshead connection is that Tode Hall [the setting of the new novel] is famous for being the filming location for a famous TV series about a family of aristocrats, presumably the Flytes.  The author jokes that her grandfather’s legacy kept his family ‘in expensive shoes and Botox for decades’, and revealed how she finally decided to write a funny modern-day-spin-off of his most acclaimed novel after years of refusing to do so. Daisy jokes that this is because the upper class had become the victim of the ‘woke folk’s’ spite, ‘suffering the abuse in silence and isolated in their stately homes’.

In order to write the novel, which is set to come out in February, Waugh did some research by staying at Castle Howard, where she conversed with Nick Howard and his wife Vicky Barnsley. But she said she mostly drew inspiration from her own family on her mother’s side, who were the owners of Clandon Park, built in 1730, which was donated to the National Trust by Daisy’s grandfather, Arthur Onslow.  Clandon park, unfortunately, burned down in 2015. Waugh explained she wrote the ‘merry’ and ‘frivolous’  book because she felt the world was in need of cheering up.

The Brideshead spin-off seems not to have occurred to the publishers, Piatkus. Here is their summary of the book from its back cover as quoted on Amazon.co.uk:

Sir Ecgbert Tode of Tode Hall has survived to a grand old age – much to the despair of his younger wife, Emma. But at ninety-three he has, at last, shuffled off the mortal coil.

Emma, Lady Tode, thoroughly fed up with being a dutiful Lady of the Manor, wants to leave the country to spend her remaining years in Capri. Unfortunately her three tiresome children are either unwilling or unable (too mad, too lefty or too happy in Australia) to take on management of their large and important home, so the mantle passes to a distant relative and his glamorous wife.

Not long after the new owners take over, Lady Tode is found dead in the mausoleum. Accident? Or is there more going on behind the scenes of Tode Hall than an outsider would ever guess….?

In the traditions of two great but very different British writers, Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse, Waugh’s hilarious and entirely original twist on the country house murder mystery comes complete with stiff upper lips, even stiffer drinks, and any stiffs that might embarrass the family getting smartly brushed under the carpet…

They might have also mentioned its connection to Cluedo. The book is also on offer from Amazon.com but under a different title: Castle Beardsley. This change seems odd since Americans would understand the allusion in the British title. They play Cluedo in America as well, only they call it “Clue”.

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