Reviewing the Situation with Lena Davis
Lena has been a music producer, writer and Personal Manager; a photographer and journalist and, over thirty years ago, got together with Caroline Scattergood to create the Caring & Sharing Trust to bring music, hope and love into the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families from throughout Northamptonshire.
If you were a Downton Abbey fan then you probably love to wallow in the comings and goings of the upper classes. Of course, you would also have to swallow whole the idea that the lower classes just loved to devote their lives to thanking the rich man for their very existence.
If so, The Mitford Murders (published by Sphere at £12.99) is just the book for you. The author is Jessica Fellowes whose uncle Julian Fellowes created Downton Abbey.
This is a murder mystery loosely based on facts about the six Mitford sisters. Jessica’s love for this period, at the end of the First World War, shines in her heartfelt admiration of the six darling girls and their darling parents. Of course, in real life, at least one of the little darling girls grew up to adore Adolf Hitler.
Down below stairs the peasants toil away, happy to breathe the same air as the gentry who they wait on hand and foot. In fact, the happy ending is that the nursery maid who helps to solve the murder is rewarded by being allowed back below stairs to carry on with her menial work. Needless to say, she is over the moon about this opportunity!
Basically, this is not a book at all but a submission for a television series. And a great one it will make. It will be just like Downton Abbey and Victoria which have helped to re-invent history, showing just how lovely the rich and powerful were to the humble, grateful poor.
Jessica has already announced that this book is the first of a series. As she has previously written five books hanging on the coat tails of uncle’s Downton Abbey, she must know there is a market for this tosh.
If you think I am being a bit heavy on a delightful piece of literary froth – this could be because Jessica is very proud that she has toured America from coast to coast giving this her sanitized views of the social history of those days.
The truth is that most people “below stairs” were treated abominably by their masters above. It is hard to distinguish between the then behaviour of those with inherited wealth and those who had become rich, often through the spoils of the war effort.
But who knows – maybe they were the good old days. Let’s face it, they had never heard of zero hours contracts or worked for British Home Stores!
Now seems the right time for Prion, a part of the Carlton Publishing Group, to have a quick re-issue of their absolutely fabulous “Fake News” (£9.99 hardback).
Even the authors have fake names and I have absolutely no idea who the geniuses actually are. It really doesn’t matter because it is a book like no other. At the same time as it makes you laugh aloud it also makes you angry as hell.
As the authors point out, fake news is not a new fashion but has been around, probably, since the world began. In fact, if you are at all sceptical about religion, this book will stamp its seal of approval all over your disbeliefs.
Laughter on one side, problems with modern day fakery is that it is just one of the many factors that have joined together to suck the love out of our world. So, by the end of the book, you may have laughed a lot but, in contemplation of its musings, it will also make you cry in despair.
So, folks, it’s up to us to search for what is real – and that certainly ain’t easy!