A couple of days ago I received Love Insurance in my Willoughby book club subscription box. I was instantly intrigued by this book: the cover, the blurb and the pitch that says “P.G. Wodehouse meets Oscar Wilde meets The Great Gatsby […]” screamed “READ ME, NOW!” at me, so I had to pick it up immediately. And I´m so glad that I did it.
Impoverished Lord Harrowby takes an insurance out against his bride to be, wealthy American socialite Cynthia Meyrick. Should she decide to cancel the wedding, Lord Harrowby is to become a wealthy man. Insurance employee Dick Minot gets send out to ensure that the wedding takes place … and stumbles into a whole lot of complications and weird situations.
I stand by my statement that this book feels like a screwball comedy. Just think of the movie Some Like It Hot and the feeling it gives you when you follow the characters of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, trying to maneuver through the mess that they have gotten in to. The moment you desperately wish that everything may turn out right, even though everything spirals out of control and it feels like there is no way out of it.
Reading Love Insurance invoked the same feelings in me and on top of it all it was an incredibly fun read. I caught myself chuckling at passages, a thing I hardly never do while reading a book. The people from the Willoughby book club certainly has send a gem to me with this book and since I enjoyed Earl Derr Biggers writing style, I´m planning to try out his Charlie Chan mystery books.
Highly recommended for everyone who seek a light, fun and charming read with a lot of crazy situations.
Remember how I told you that this novel is utterly predictable. Well, in regards to the lovestory (which has a ring of instalove to it) this is true. It has to end in a happy ever after. It simply has to.
The rest of the plot, though, is insane. Obstacles, which keep the marriage between Cynthia and Lord Harrowby from happening, appear left and right and poor Dick Minot has to solve said problems. This is truly a screwball comedy in book form and I have no idea how Minot is getting himself out of this mess.
"Has your engagement ever been announced, Mr. Minot?"
"Why - er - not to my knowledge," Minot laughed. "Why?"
"I was just wondering - if it made everybody feel queer. The way it makes me feel. Ever since one o´clock - I ought never to say it - I´ve felt as though everything was over. I´ve seemed old! Old!" She clenched her fist, and spoke almost in terror. "I don´t want to grow old. I´d hate it."
"It was here," said Minot softly, "Ponce de Leon sought the fountain of youth. When you came up I was pretending the one splashing was that very fountain itself - "
"If it only were," the girl cried. "Oh - you could never drag me away from it. But it isn´t. It´s supplied by the San Marco Water Works, and there´s a meter ticking somewhere, I´m sure. [...]"
I´m really loving this novel so far. The plot is as predictable as it can get, but the tone, the characters and the setting are utterly delightful. It reminds me of one of these old screwball comedies.
"Young fellow," Mr. Trimmer´s tone was excultant, "I can´t keep in any longer. I got a proposition in tow so big it´s bursting my brain cells - and it takes some strain to do that. No, I can´t tell you the exact nature of it - but I will say this - tomorrow night this time I´ll throw a bomb in this hotel so loud it´ll be heard round the world."
"Not on your life. Advertiser. And I´ve got something to advice this hot February, take it from me. [...]"
At five-thirty, a spy for the first time in his eventful young life, he stood opposite the main entrance of the Plaza. Nearby ticked a taxi, engaged for the evening.
An hour passed. Lights, laughter, limousines, the cold moon adding its brilliance to that already brilliant square, the winter wind sighing through the bare trees of the park - New York seemed a city of dreams. Suddenly the chaffeur of Minot´s taxi stood uneasily before him.
"Say, you ain´t going to shoot anybody, are you?" he asked.
"Oh. no - you needn´t be afraid of that."
"I ain´t afraid. I just thought I´d take off my license number if you was."
Ah, yes - New York! City of beautiful dreams!
This book is off to a very good start :D.