The Uncommon Reader (2007), Alan Bennett's charming book about the Queen's developing love of books, was so engaging that I went right to the Spokane Public Library catalog and requested something else by Bennett, The Clothes They Stood Up In (1996), which seemed to have the same whimsical quality. Whimsical it is; charming it is not.
A rather dreary middle-class couple, Mr and Mrs Ransome, return home from the opera one night to find their flat entirely empty. Everything is gone, from his stereo system to the casserole she left warming in the oven. How to explain this extremely unlikely burglary? It's entirely inexplicable. Even more strange is the storage facility where they find their entire apartment set up exactly as they left it and the caretaker's explanation that he was hired to clean them out.
Until a piece of mail is misdelivered.
Clever, but not quite clever enough. I will grant Mr Bennett his accolade as England's Favorite Author, but he will not be mine. I think I'll be satisfied with The Uncommon Reader and not expect another such brilliant little book.