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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cast, in Order of Disappearance
This is the first in the long running series of light frothy murder mysteries staring that charming actor of middle aged years, Charles Paris.
In this book 47 year-old Charles, having just finished a recording for the radio, bumps into an old flame from their years in pantomime, an "actress-cum-dancer-cum-most things" called Jacqui. Jacqui is most upset over her...
Published on 11 Sept. 2005 by Rich Milligan

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3.0 out of 5 stars Cast in Order of Disappearance
Having enjoyed other mysteries by Simon Brett, including the brilliant Fethering mysteries, I thought I would give his long running Charles Paris books a try. This is the first in the series, featuring middle aged actor, Charles Paris. When we meet Paris, his career is in something of a slide and, although having an on/off relationship with his estranged wife, he lives...
Published 20 months ago by S Riaz


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cast, in Order of Disappearance, 11 Sept. 2005
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
This is the first in the long running series of light frothy murder mysteries staring that charming actor of middle aged years, Charles Paris.
In this book 47 year-old Charles, having just finished a recording for the radio, bumps into an old flame from their years in pantomime, an "actress-cum-dancer-cum-most things" called Jacqui. Jacqui is most upset over her latest beau, the rich and famous theatre impresario Marius Steen. Jacqui is convinced Marius was on the verge of asking her to marry him and now apparently he doesn't want to see her anymore and has taken to writing hurtful and abusive letters to keep her away. Could it be that Marius is worried about some "risqué" photos of him and Jacqui getting into the public eye? Charles, ever an easy touch by young beautiful girls, agrees to try to arrange to see Mr Steen on Jacqui's behalf and return the photos. An easy task made extremely difficult by the fact that Charles discovers Marius dead in his home in Streatley.
Charles is just a delight to read about, well intentioned and ever the gentleman, he never the less has huge failings when it comes to relationships and commitment and the dreaded booze. He's more a bumbling incompetent then an intelligent sleuth and yet he always seems to get to the heart of the matter.
This book introduces us to all the main characters that will appear in the others in the series. Gerald Venables, Charles' ex-university friend who's now a successful solicitor. Charles' ex-wife Frances and their daughter Juliet and her petty and rigid husband Miles. There is of course the "darling" of the whole piece, Charles' agent, the theatrical gossip Maurice Skellern.
The book is quite theatrical and "lovey" and there's probably several disguised references to actual people in the TV or theatre which will only appeal to those in the know. But that's not to say other won't enjoy the bitchy comments, the mentions of Charles' newspaper reviews and other hilarious characters, most notably Bartlemas and O'Rourke and favourite of the hour Bernard Walton (whom Charles helped up onto the acting ladder of success). There are also some nice sentimental touches when Charles meet veteran of the variety hall Harry Chiltern.
One final mention is that the book is set in the winter of 1973-74 and it really does conjure up the "winter of discontent", the strikes, 3 day week, and the 10:30 TV watershed.
Great fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill Nighy rules, OK?, 7 Jan. 2013
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These Beeb full cast productions are, as I've said before, simply excellent, with great adaptations by Jeremy Front ( who surely deserves a cover credit!) from the terrific series of Charles Paris books by Simon Brett. The casting is quite on the money, with Mr N well supported by all. I've noted that some purists don't like the "liberties" taken with the original books- Frances is a main character in the radio series (beautifully played by Suzanne Burden), but is peripheral in the books. Maurice, Charles' agent, is much more to the front on radio too. Enjoy these plays, then seek out the original books. PS please Beeb, can you do the same with Mr B's Mrs Pargeter novels?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tongue in cheek thriller, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Cast in Order of Disappearance (A Charles Paris Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Loved Charles Paris on radio 4 and very much enjoyed reading it , had Bill Nigh's voice in my head.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cast in Order of Disappearance, 31 July 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cast in Order of Disappearance (A Charles Paris Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Having enjoyed other mysteries by Simon Brett, including the brilliant Fethering mysteries, I thought I would give his long running Charles Paris books a try. This is the first in the series, featuring middle aged actor, Charles Paris. When we meet Paris, his career is in something of a slide and, although having an on/off relationship with his estranged wife, he lives alone in a bed sit. When he sleeps with old flame, young actress Jacqui, he finds that she is pining for wealthy impressario Marius Steen. In fact, she is pregnant by him, but he has sent a heartless message to say the relationship is over. Playing knight errant, Paris agrees to help find out why he has rejected her and, before long, is embroiled in a case involving blackmail, murder and missing wills.

This is a reasonable start to the series, which has Brett's usual tight plotting and a good network of characters. The problem was that I found neither Charles Paris himself, or, indeed, damsel in distress Jacqui, sympathetic. Jacqui was empty headed and self serving, who seemed to mouth banalities throughout the novel, while it was obvious that her only real interest was in money. Charles himself was both lecherous and a drunk and, it seemed, somewhat without charm. I suspect he might improve in later books, but I didn't feel this was Brett's best work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A highly enjoyable introduction to the Charles Paris series, 1 April 2015
By 
Aileen Mitchell Stewart (N.W. Sutherland, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cast in Order of Disappearance (A Charles Paris Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
An engaging protagonist in the form of a once-great actor now reduced, by age and alcohol, to bit part roles, but retaining his charm and resilience, is drawn rather against his will to investigating the circumstances around the death of a famous theatrical impresario.
Theatrical characters abound and the contemporary setting of the 1970s three-day week and petrol shortages give depth as well as feeding into the plot.
This plot is teasingly unguessable till the very end where what might initially seem a rather weak part of it is neatly seen in to make a finally solid whole.
Altogether a great introduction to the long series of Charles Parish books by Simon Brett which was to follow. If you like a well-drawn background world, great puzzles and a believably amateur sleuth whose sf-awareness overrides his weaknesses then the whole series is a nostalgic treat, even for those of us who had to endure living through the 70s.
Read this, then read the rest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 Sept. 2011
Bill Nighy plays actor Charles Paris in this series, previously broadcast on Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. I love this audio cd, the story is funny, and suspenseful. Eventually I hope to have the whole series of stories. Great fun.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cast, In Order Of Disappearance, 8 Feb. 2012
Actor Charles Paris, tries to help out an old girlfriend, but soon finds himself investigating a murder.

Well-written whodunnit, though the mystery element is not that pronounced. However, Charles Paris is a likeable amateur sleuth. He has lots of faults but is thankfully aware of them. There's enough wit here, (especially when he takes a role in a low-budget horror movie) to entertain. A decent beginning to a long-running series. It's a light read and all the better for it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to listen to in the car and most enjoyable, 2 Aug. 2012
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Bill Nighy is wonderful as Charles Paris. He has exactly the right tone of voice and character believability. I have read most of the Charles Paris books and so I am familiar with the genre. These audio tapes have been adapted and updated which works most of the time. The humour remains the same and there are many 'laugh out loud' bits. We listened to the three tapes on a car journey through France. It made the motorway driving most enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying listening, mystery with humour, 2 July 2011
This is another great product from BBC drama. Bill Nighy does an excellent job as Charles Paris making him funny but believable. The supporting cast also help develop Charles providing contrast. Why only four stars? For me the plot lacked a little coherency and fell short compared to previous episodes in this series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sex and Whisky, 22 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Cast in Order of Disappearance (A Charles Paris Mystery Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I like the character of Charles Paris, an amusing and interesting rake and the very easy reading from Simon Brett.
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