Dr. Rosemary Wolfe reappears briefly in Jeffrey Archer’s latest installment of The Clifton Chronicles – Cometh the Hour – in the ongoing family saga of the Barringtons (British upstairs) and the Cliftons (the downstairs). Dr. Wolfe, who won her place as a character name appearing first in the fifth book – Mightier Than the Sword – has a short cameo, but enough to make me proud.
As I read his latest book, comparisons of Archer and Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, delighted me. Both keep the action moving by popping back and forth among tense character scenes; both use finite descriptions of places and manners to create the atmosphere; and both authors conveniently tie up plot lines quickly and satisfactorily – despite having to kill off an unsuspecting innocent now and then in shocking end of episode style.
Archer combines the political fervor of the seventies in Great Britain – time of the election of the first woman Prime Minister – with the backrooms of bankers and shipping magnates in developing convoluted plots pitting villains against the good guys, as he continues the family adventures through generations. One of my favorite lines was Archer’s description of two despicable villains – “Gone to ground…they’ll resurface in the spring like all pond life…”
The action is pure fun, and if you haven’t discovered this series, you might consider binge reading from the firs book Only Time Will Tell. I’ve read them all – see my reviews below – and can’t wait for the next, due in November. I can only hope Dr. Rosemary Wolfe will return.
What do you read on those long flights or while waiting for your next connection? Dominique Browning in her article for the New York Times – High-Brow Lit for High Fliers? Not Me – suggests you forget about catching up on the heavy classics of great literature or “back issues of sobering magazines.”
Instead, she recommends riveting best selling authors like Scott Turow and John Grisham; plot driven mysteries by P.D. James; thrillers by Ruth Rendell. Browning advises…
“Next time you are facing a long flight (and predictable delays) swap out those classics for these entertaining paperbacks. At least your trip will feel shorter.”
I still catch up on my pile of New Yorker magazines on my trips, but some of my favorite flying companions are Roald Dahl’s BFG, teen vampires from the Twilight series, and handsome dukes from romances by Catherine Coulter (but I usually hide the steamy cover).