DEATH IN CLOSE-UP by Nancy Livingston


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The author returns with a vengeance to the TV-studio setting of an earlier novel (Fatality at Bath and Wells). Unassuming retired tax-inspector G.D.H. Pringle is at Rainbow Studios, helping program-controller Ashley Fallowfield straighten out his tax returns. Rainbow is in an uproar following the stabbing murder of fading star Margarite Pelouse, killed on the set of Doctors and Nurses, a soap on which she was a guest. CID Inspector Frank Newton has his hands full trying to sort out Margarite's background--a checkered one full of ex-husbands, former and current boyfriends, and assorted enemies (she seems to have had no friends), some of whom worked at the studio. In this frantic atmosphere, Mr. Pringle is further upset by a hit-and-run car accident just outside the studio in which longtime actor Bertie Bowman dies in his arms. Meanwhile, Newton spends hours interviewing everyone involved in Doctors and Nurses, reviewing ancient and new squabbles, and viewing frames of the action around the crucial time--but it's Pringle who sets him on the right track, without benefit of technology. A plot cleverly contracted of fast-moving scene changes is soon overwhelmed by the painstakingly detailed apparatus of TV production. Character, motivation, and story-line all suffer in the process. The author's fine acerbic wit surfaces occasion. ally, and Pringle's feisty girlfriend makes some robust appearances, but it's not enough to save this novel from its excesses.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's