THE TALLULAH BANKHEAD MURDER CASE by George Baxt

THE TALLULAH BANKHEAD MURDER CASE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author, continuing to use long-gone real-life celebrities to bolster his stories (The Dorothy Parker Murder Case, etc.), sets his latest in the 1950's of McCarthy and the blacklist. Tallulah Bankhead's social and professional circles are being devastated by the accusations of one-time friends--those who are naming purported Communist sympathizers to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Careers are wrecked, marriages broken, suicides abound. Tallulah, with a successful radio show, helps some of those who've fallen victim by offering money, comfort, and jobs where she can. Then the suicides of folk-singing star Abner Walsh and his ex-wife Martha inadvertently draw her into the police investigation of the murder of Lester Miorff, a notorious source of names for the committee. Fellow betrayers Oliver Sholom and Barry Wren are killed in the days that follow, and Tallulah busies herself giving unwanted sleuthing assistance to N.Y.P.D.'s Detective Jacob Singer. His tolerance pays off when she comes up with the clue that identifies the killer in a Christie-type, all-hands-present confrontation. The tidy plot and sensitive re-creation of the horror of the era are all but buried under a surfeit of name-dropping, including the author's own (an actor's agent at the time). Meanwhile, Tallulah's stagy chatter, a torrent of bitchy gossip, and a heavy sprinkling of unfunny puns make the going just too, too much, dahlings.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's