So where to begin? Let’s start with what it says on the back of the book:

For more than half a century Miss Hyacinthe Phypps has been offering guidance on proper behaviour. It is the publishers’ fondest hope that this book will serve the current generation of young ladies as it served their mothers.

The subtitle for TRDG (as it has become known in this house) is “The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion” And all of the occasions covered here are distinctly dubious.

So, you are a young woman stepping over the threshold into adult womanhood, and you need to find something appropriate to say after the event. Miss Phypps has some remarkable suggestions depending on the location of your own particular threshold-stepping moment, some of them rather peculiar but all of them very funny.

At least I thought they were – let’s just say my reaction to this book was to dip in, giggle/snort with laughter depending, and then to read bits out to the Book God.

Of course the main attraction for me was the fact that this was illustrated by Edward Gorey, and the book does reflect the humour of the mid-1960s (originally published in 1965 and has been out of print for a long time) with the male characters tending to be crooners, marimba players and Chinese detectives amongst others, but I was very amused by it and still dip in occasionally when I need to be cheered up.

If you like your humour quaint, tongue in cheek and a little surreal then this might be for you.

Unless you are of a delicate disposition, of course.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for the free book.

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