A SERIES OF MURDERS by Simon Brett

A SERIES OF MURDERS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The 13th outing for Charles Paris--semi-working actor, errant husband, amateur sleuth--is neither terribly unlucky (as superstition might suggest) nor especially delightful (as longtime Brett fans might hope). Like most of BreWs recent output, it's pleasantly readable, only mildly amusing, and tenuously plotted. This time Charles has landed a regular (if minor) role on a TV mystery, series: Stanislas Braid, the 1930's adventures of a Wimsey-ish sleuth, based on the dullish, dated novels of ""W.T. Wintergreen."" The star is a shallow egomaniac; the producer is crass; the screenwriter is a nervous wreck. W.T. Wintergreen herself, a.k.a. 75-ish Winifred Railton, is on the set, along with fragile sister Louisa--both of them watchdogging (largely in vain) the letter and spirit of the original books. So there's tension aplenty, especially after the show's ing‚nue (an inept actress from central casting-couch) is found dead in the proproom, ""accidentally"" coshed on the head. Was it really murder? Of course, with several suspects to choose from: the actress' recent bedmates (one director, one very married actor); a shady stage-manager (who himself turns up dead, down in Dorset on location), etc. But the real culprit is easy to spot from the start. And the modest entertainment here comes primarily from non-mystery elements: the low-key yet authentic backstage details; Charles' random thoughts on such matters as ""Designer Ploughman's Lunches"" in pubs; and, as ever, Charles' halfhearted attempts to put aside the bottle and win back estranged wife Frances.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Scribners