A collection of theatrical misfits go on tour in this nostalgic trip back in time – sure to delight fans of H.E. Bates or PG Wodehouse
Titus Llewellyn-Gwlynne, actor/manager of the Red Lion Theatre, has lost a backer who was going to fund a theatrical tour – when unexpected salvation appears.
Their home theatre in the East End of London having been bombed during the war, The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain to take a play written by their new benefactress into the provinces.
As they make their vagabond, singing way, they remain unaware that they leave behind in London a man consumed with thoughts of revenge. Revenge which follows them obsessively from town to town, ending in its final act before the last curtain.
This charming series transports the reader to a lost post-war world of touring rep theatre and once-grand people who have fallen on harder times, smoggy streets, and shared bonhomie over a steaming kettle.
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Average rating from 21 members
A cast of wonderful characters brings this story of life and love and all the troubles that brings with it to magical fruition in this wonderful story. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes stories that engage and entertain.
What do you get when you remove seats from an old bus and replace them with scenery, props, playbills and a mishmash of characters? Why, a traveling theatre, of course, specifically the Red Lion Touring Company. The original theatre had been demolished in London in WWII and money from a trust fund went bust. In 1950 the enterprising troupe tours hither and yon, performing, and the author writes about their (mis)adventures as they go to pubs after performances, meet new people and old acquaintances and lose/pick up new actors along the way. Not only that but a person with an agenda...and a gun...follows. The writing is smart and witty, though to me different than that of P. G. Wodehouse. The word "hijinks" is a good descriptor for this book. Speaking of descriptors, the author describes details including scenery, clothing and food beautifully...makes me want to be amongst the beauty again. This book is quite different. It did take me awhile to get into it and the plethora of characters lost me a bit. But once it got going, I enjoyed the ride! My sincere thank you to Farrago Books and NetGalley for the privilege of reading the e-ARC of this fun book.
What a wonderful novel! A big slice of postwar England full of humor and priceless historical details as we follow a colourful touring company and its charming actors on the road from town to town and all the shenanigans involved around their Bohemian journey, and the deranged crackpot hot on their tails and obsessively determined to get even with one of them.... A fictional celebration of life through a nation deeply scarred by a long and painful conflict and a very funny and entertaining novel from start to finish. I simply can't wait for the next installment when our unforgettable thespians will be touring and probably wreaking havoc in the US! Great fiction to be enjoyed without moderation👍👍 Many thanks to Netgalley and Farrago for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel prior to its release date
3.5 stars A really fun & funny book about an acting troupe of misfits who go on tour through the English countryside while a dangerous criminal is hunting them. [What I liked:] •Titus is great! I super enjoyed his constant quoting of lines from Hamlet in everyday life. I think we all should constantly quote Hamlet in everyday life. Hamlet is the best. Titus’ street fashion mainly borrowed from the theatre company’s costume wardrobe is also great! •Wells is also a great character. He’s so hilarious, accidentally. •The quirky characters the troupe meets along the way, plus the idiosyncratic small towns, plus the mishaps along the way on the trip give this story real fun & flair. •The writing is descriptive, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, & observant. It reads very easily. [What I didn’t like as much:] •I think Jack is the MC? At least one of the most important characters. And while I don’t dislike him, I never got as good of a feeling for him as I did for Titus, Dolly, & Reuben. He seemed unpredictable, I never figured out what his driving motivations were, & while his dark childhood & war traumas were hinted at I don’t feel that that sufficiently added up to adequate character development. •Henry’s characterization was odd to me. It’s never explained how he got into crime, or why he suddenly left it. I also don’t understand why he felt honor-bound to commit a murder, supposedly out of Confucian filial piety, over a matter of ill-gotten money. The motive was thin there. CW: murder, physical assault, infidelity, PTSD [I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
Love and Miss Harris is a British cozy mystery about a traveling theater group. It revolves around a man named Titus and his troupe as they travel from town to town performing a play. Trouble seems to be following them at every stop. I found it amusing and very well-written. I enjoyed the dialogue and the odd characters. At times there were a lot of characters to remember which can be a problem if you are not paying attention. This is a great book and will make for a great series.
What do you do when a bomb destroys your theater? You decide to become a travelling theater company, of course. Peter Maughan has started another delightful series.
Thank you NetGalley, author Peter Maughan, and Farrago Books for giving me a free arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 4 stars This was my first book by author Peter Maughan and it will not be my last! This book follows a traveling band of theater misfits that come together to form the Red Lion Touring Company after the original theater was destroyed during WWII. As the troupe performs in various cities, they also experience a whole range of adventures or rather misadventures along the way. From the meeting of new people in each city to the people joining and or leaving their group to a mysterious person following in their shadow with a personal vendetta and a gun. This story had a wonderful cast of characters. At times, it was hard to keep track of everyone as well as their storyline. The writing was witty and very easy to read! The author provided the readers a feeling of traveling to the different small towns and the feelings that one often finds in such places as well as the people and their quirks! The story was well layered with the mysterious mishaps that seem to find the theater troupe where ever they go! Overall, this was a very good first book that I am sure will be a well favored cozy mystery series!
A Dollop Of Delight.... A great big dollop of delight in this wonderfully entertaining novel and the first in ‘The Company Of Fools’ series. A perfectly portrayed cast of characters, enjoyable historical detail, engaging storyline and dry wit all make for perfect and often slightly bonkers but fabulously escapist reading. Bring on the next...please!
The beginning of another wonderful series by the author.A traveling theater troupe full of interesting characters.Each involved in the others life romance fun humor will be reading this series.#netgalley #farragobooks.
The Red Lion Theatre Company are in need of a backer so when their lead actor plants a facer on their shady potential investor it’s all up until a salvation comes in the form of rich little old lady with a passion project the play she’s been working on for thirty years: “Love and Miss Harris.” The show can go on! However the decked investor turns out to be more than shady and is out for revenge but he has to track our travelling players down first. Love and Miss Harris is great fun, it’s a series of character studies hung together with a plot. Titus and Dolly are magnificent old school luvvies, Jack Savage is our brooding hero with a tragic and dangerous history and Nancy a girl who can be anybody is trying to work out who and what exactly she wants to be. Underneath all this lightness is a genuine threat of menace in Books Kramer an out an out wrong ‘un if ever there was one. Thoroughly enjoyable.
A delightfully old fashioned tale set in postwar Britain. Somewhat eccentric characters, although a little confusing who's who at times. The gentle, slightly chaotic time spent travelling around the home counties in a bygone age without modern conveniences is quite enchanting and thoroughly entertaining in an old Ealing Comedy type fashion.
A delightful story I thoroughly enjoyed! It's engrossing and entertaining, made me smile and learn something new about post war UK. Well thought and likable characters, lots of humor, a well researched and vivid historical background. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
After The Red Lion Theatre in the East End of London was bombed during the war, Titus, actor and manager of the theatre, seeks someone to fund a theatrical tour. After one meeting with a potential benefactor goes awry, Titus stumbles across someone who can help. And with that The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain with a play written by their new benefactress. Meanwhile, as they leave London behind, there is man following them, hellbent on revenge. Love and Miss Harris is a fun, enjoyable read. There's a wonderful cast of eclectic characters but it did take me a while to remember them all. However I soon got used to the delightful cast of misfits and I loved reading about the mischief and mayhem that followed throughout the tour. Each town brought new adventures (and chaos). The story is witty and fun but also really well written. I enjoyed the descriptions of the various locations and could vividly imagine each scene the author described. I love historical fiction but this is the first book I've read about small towns in postwar Britain but hopefully it won't be the last. It was a lovely bit of escapism and I'd be interested in reading the upcoming books in the series.
A lively, fun story set in post war Britain and full of delightful quirky characters. With over 30 years experience crewing and stage managing for amateur theatre as well as being a fan of historical fiction this hit all the right notes.
this book was so precious! i highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good escape story! it was just so delightful to read and i enjoyed every single second! thank you again, netgalley!!!
I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley Such a great wonderful ride and a wonderful ambience and setting you can't really ask for more.
Love and Miss Harris by Peter Maughan is the first in his new series. I enjoyed his Batch Magna series and was hoping for some more outings for he characters but this new novel didn’t disappoint. It’s the early 1950s and George (who doesn’t introduce herself by her title, Lady Marjory Devonaire) has written a play – Love and Miss Harris, a pleasant old-fashioned romance. Sadly, all the principal London theatres have turned it down. Titus Llewelyn-Gwynne, an actor-manager in rather reduced circumstances, has seen many such plays (this without actually reading it) and has never seen one he can use, with backers willing to finance the production. However, George has some money and is prepared to fund it herself… Maughan has a great ability to make his characters live on the page. Their ways of speaking, their mannerisms, the descriptions of their appearance all contribute to a vision in the reader’s imagination. Titus and the young hero, Jack Savage, are two such characters. When Titus wants to remonstrate with a villainous theatre manager in front of a committee, he steps onto the long table and marches along it, unsheathing his sword-stick and ending his march with the tip of the sword touching the manager’s heart. There is another villain, who Jack floors with one blow in the second paragraph, Reuben “Books” Kramer. His quest for revenge against Jack alternates with the adventures of Titus and his theatre company as they take George’s play on a tour of Southern England. The life of a repertory company on tour in the 1950s is captured beautifully in Maughan’s book: the digs; the fry-up breakfasts in cafes; fish and chips with bread and butter and a pot of tea – as is the gang warfare; the guns and meat cleavers used by crooks running protection rackets. I thought “This is a book by Peter Maughan. There’s jeopardy but it will all end happily, won’t it?” And I will be honest, about two-thirds of the way through the book, I really wasn’t sure it would. You see, even Maughan’s villains are believable characters who come to life in the imagination. Yes, even Edwin, Book’s henchman who likes hurting people and who has a natural skill as a flower arranger – I could picture him and it wasn’t a pleasant thought, despite the flowers. By all means, call it “cosy” if that’s your choice of words. Certainly, I’d agree that there’s a large dose of nostalgia / period colour, with Dolly singing a clever adaptation of Florrie Forde’s “Has anyone here seen Kelly? Kelly from the Isle of Man?” incorporating “D-O-double-L-Y”; sing-songs including “We’ll Meet Again” and “I do Like to be Beside the Seaside”. The book cleverly evokes the 1950s very well, through descriptions, language, dress, songs, behaviour, etc. Initially, I did get worried about the number of actors being brought into the story when the company went on the road, but it turned out there weren’t that many after all. It’s quite an easy read and a highly enjoyable book. #LoveandMissHarris #NetGalley