Stern grammarian or Queen of comedy?
That is a toughie. I read Eats, Shoots and Leaves with as much amusement as the next person, if with a sneaking admiration and in total agreement with her rants.
But Lynne Truss, for me, is more memorable as being the most funny writer of the last decade, and you are reading a Terry Pratchett fan saying so, folks.
So she is something special.
Wodehouse fans will appreciate the intricate plots, the wonderful grasp on language and her scholarship, and the mad-cap situations. But what is truly marvellous about Truss is her absolute refusal to dumb herself down.
Writing farce is not an easy thing. Writing about historical figures, known history and making a farce of it is doubly hard. Truss manages it beautifully.
Tennyson's Gift is a hilarious novel. If you know your Victoriana, your Tennyson and Lewis Carroll, the story takes on an added element of mirth. If you know about phrenology and stage figures, and if you know nineteenth century art-world, it becomes delicious.
Truss is a truly amazing comic writer. I recommend Tennyson's Gift to anybody who enjoys wicked humour and well-crafted writing.