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GROUCHO MARX AND THE BROADWAY MURDERS by Ron Goulart

GROUCHO MARX AND THE BROADWAY MURDERS

By Ron Goulart

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-26598-0
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

As the Super Chief chugs out of Union Station, ex–crime reporter and Groucho Marx scriptwriter Frank Denby and his wisecracking wife Jane, originator of the sassy Hollywood comic strip Molly, who are headed to New York to turn the strip into a radio series, are startled to find Groucho also aboard, guitar in hand, warbling “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” Ever the thespian, Groucho plans to play the Lord High Executioner in a Broadway version of The Mikado. But first, he and the Denbys must deal with movie mogul Daniel Manheim’s near-death in the observation car. Who wants Manheim cuddling up to Forest Lawn sod? Half the train’s occupants, it seems, including two actresses (both former mistresses of recently slain mobster Nick Sanantonio), a chorus boy, and possibly Manheim’s own bodyguard. Arriving in New York, Groucho escorts starlet-with-a-past Dian Bowers to her estranged husband’s Broadway debut in Make Mine Murder, where they watch her zealous mentor, Manheim, unexpectedly plop through a stagedoor, finally dead. Then the drunken personal physician to one of the stars sobers up just long enough to Remember Something—and is murdered for it. Is this a joking matter? You betcha, and the Denbys and Groucho pun their way—with a few more rousing choruses of “Lydia”—to a goofy conclusion that wouldn’t hold up even as a B-movie plot.

Like its three predecessors (Elementary, My Dear Groucho, 1999, etc.): silly, slight, good-natured slapstick that suggests the whodunit hasn’t forgotten or learned a thing since 1939.