THE BETTE DAVIS MURDER CASE by George Baxt

THE BETTE DAVIS MURDER CASE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Still another movie star of Hollywood's Golden Age turns sleuth in the hands of Baxt (The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case, 1993, etc.). This time it's Bette Davis, who is fleeing to England in order to wait out a divorce and a lawsuit against her studio. On the boat going over, she meets Nydia Tilson, a medium with access to the British upper crest. Through Nydia, the actress is introduced to Virgil Wynn, a prominent Egyptologist, and to Agatha Mallowan, who under her previous married name, Christie, writes mysteries. Bette and Agatha soon have a real-life mystery on their hands, because Virgil is wasting away and no one can determine why. Is it the curse of the Pharaohs? Is it some rare disease picked up in Africa? Or is someone gradually finishing him off with arsenic? After Virgil expires, the actress and the writer are literally hip-deep in bodies as Virgil's mother, Nydia's husband, and the Wynn family maid are snuffed. Bette must somehow solve the multiple crimes while chain-smoking and drinking everything in sight. Atmosphere is provided by name-dropping (Constance Bennett, Daphne Du Maurier, Noël Coward). The plot wears as thin as the silver-screen gimmick in this by-the-numbers mystery, deliberately reminiscent of a Christie novel.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1994
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's