Can it be? Minor actor and major alcoholic Charles Paris (The Cinderella Killer, 2014, etc.) is finally trying to get a handle on his drinking.
Unlikely as it seems, Charles has some powerful motivations for getting on the wagon. His ex-wife, Frances, has hinted at a closer rapprochement if he can kick the bottle, and he’s been cast—just like that, without even an audition—in the West End performance of The Habit of Faith. Of course, it’s only in the supporting role of “Brother Benedict, The Monk Who Just Listened To All Of The Other Monks Who Maundered On In Long Speeches About Their Own Internal Conflicts,” but it’s real money guaranteed for four months. On the down side, the old colleague who’s invited Charles into the production, Justin Grover, has become the star of the television franchise Vandals and Visigoths, and his talent is no match for his vanity, and his leading (and only) lady, Liddy Max, has the bad timing to get killed—maybe in a fall, maybe some other way—during a break-in before The Habit of Faith can even open. But DI Tricker and DS Bowles accept without question Charles’ perfunctory denial that he was in the theater at the time, and the show goes on with scarcely a hitch with understudy Imogen Whittaker in the coveted role of The Girl. Sadly, there’s not much detective work of any kind here: The real drama is watching Charles, who’s never met a glass of water that couldn’t be improved by a shot of Bell’s, try AA, a less minatory program called TAUT, and his own willpower as he waits for the information that will identify the killer without providing enough evidence to prosecute.
An agreeable, efficient, low-impact backstage whodunit from a savvy veteran, with just enough excerpts from earlier reviews of the hero’s storied career to keep up the snark quotient.