At Peter Dickinson's website, The Old English Peep Show (also published as A Pride of Heroes) is described very briefly:
Pibble investigates the apparent suicide of a servant in a great English country house being run as a theme park, complete with lions, by two retired WWII heroes.Dickinson calls his book "a baroque spoof." The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "a bit crazy, harrowingly suspenseful, surprising." And it is all of that. The thing that surprised me was that with all the elements of humor and caricature, the later part of the book still has definite thriller elements.
Pibble is an unusual protagonist, a middle-aged man with a wife who bullies him "into reading the Elsa books." (They figure into the story, of course.) He is sent off by Scotland Yard to handle the investigation of the loyal servant, Deakin, at Herryngs, not far from London. The two war heroes are twin brothers who have turned their home into "Old England" with tours and enactments of duels in order to keep it going financially. Shortly after Pibble arrives he senses that the family is hiding something.
I am being conned, he thought. I am a tiny figure in some larger drama of theirs, simply here to be gulled and sent home, more momentary and peripheral even than loyal old Deakin. I must do my duty by God and the Claverings, certify this suicide, touch my cap, and depart. Anyway, it is a certifiable suicide, not quite unfakable but as near as makes no difference.
Like most of Dickinson's mystery novels, this won't appeal to everyone. I found it entertaining and a good puzzle, and it did succeed at thrilling me while examining class distinctions and politics and a multitude of other topics.
Many of Dickinson's novels are available as e-books at Open Road Integrated Media. And if you prefer print copies, as I do, you can get this book, The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest, Sleep and his Brother, and King and Joker at Felony and Mayhem.
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem, 2007 (orig. pub. 1969)
Length: 199 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Series: James Pibble #2
Genre: Police procedural
Source: I purchased my copy.