The second volume in D.K.R. Boyd’s sprawling “Reflecting Man” series follows the adventures of Boyd’s irrepressible main character and narrator, Kurtis De’ath, as he returns to England at the beginning of 1936 after an interval spent consorting with Adolf Hitler and the elite of Nazi leadership in Germany. In England, he becomes a gossip columnist for the Daily Express, which provides the perfect venue for his natural talents as a storyteller and gossip-monger.
“When I hear a ripping tale I do like to pass it along,” he says at one point, and the bulk of Reflecting Man consists of one ripping tale after another, including quite a few about the Royal Family in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. All the famous names are here, from Queen Mary to King George V to T.S. Eliot to Ernest Hemingway to the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor and their suspiciously close ties to Nazi Germany.
De’ath addresses his “dear Readers” directly and tells all these stories with chatty gusto (the whole while yearning for his native Canadian Maritimes, with its more civilized habits and superior food) that more than compensates for the book’s spattering of typos and somewhat nebulous actual plot. This is infectiously readable stuff.