Lordly Wadson
by Jonathan Land Evans

"Really it was Bermuda’s pervasive charm, its uplifting light and colours, and the way land and sea came together in friendship, that made the island so special."

This collection of novelettes and “other entertainments” resembles Bermuda in its picturesque quaintness and respite from chaotic, workaday life. The first story follows Charles, a New England artist seeking new subjects in Bermuda, but who finds trouble instead. In the second story, diversions to which the Stoutheart family look forward to while vacationing in Bermuda turn into full-time engagements. The final stories feature two prominent homes on the island. In all these, Lordly Wadson, sleuth by day, Calypso singer by night, offers gentlemanly humor, justice, and closure, often complemented by a sip or two of fine whiskey.

The conflicts in these tales are little more than trifles that serve as a backdrop to showcase the characters’ conviviality. Set in the post-Depression, pre-war era, a literary escape from woe is welcome, if not necessary. Divisions between rich and poor are alluded to and made light of. However, the conclusions reassure that all is well. Romantic partnerships ensue, professional endeavors succeed, and songs flourish.

Female characters play key roles. For example, Henrietta, Wadson’s fiance, doubles as his singing competitor. They share a devotion to the arts over and against more lucrative work. Other characters also encourage pleasure over pay. Cathy and Tom, Stoutheart siblings, enjoy whimsy and wordplay together. These balanced gender roles sound a progressive note in a bygone time. Masquerading and costumery add a childlike, imaginative flavor. Dress is described in exquisite detail, and attention to natural surroundings contributes to the picturesque ambiance. Lyric musical interludes foster a poetic tone. The pacing is relaxed, Bermuda style, where motors are not permitted. Meanwhile, naps and drink breaks are frequent. An experienced tour guide and entertainer, Lordly Wadson invites readers on a holiday, encouraging them to sit back and allow him to solve mysteries with laid-back panache.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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