STAB IN THE BACK by Malcolm Gray


Email this review


The author's second outing under this nom de plume, more elaborately contrived and even duller than the first, Look Back on Murder (p. 751). Popular TV host Logan Chester, ex-academic expert on crime fiction, vain and pompous, has invited an odd mix of weekend guests to his country house in Frewley Green--his secretary Susan Wareham; acid-tongued editor Alethea; local writer Gillian Lane, and her truculent husband Trevor. Abrasive comedian Tommy Boston, his platinum blond fourth wife Carole and author Peter Hastings, secret writer of Boston's autobiography, round out the list. Since it's quickly made clear that Boston is detested by everyone present, it's no surprise when he's found stabbed to death in the library, with the door locked on the inside and windows sealed. Shades of John Dickson Cart are ceremoniously evoked as Detective Superintendent Nell Lambert and cohorts meticulously--and tediously--rehash everyone's whereabouts. Chester attempts a classic denouement in the Christie tradition, only to be upstaged by Lambert, in possession of facts unknown to the rest of us. Dreary stuff. Despite the author's attempts to enliven his characters, there's no pulse here, and no joy.

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday