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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good!, 1 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Simon Brett Four Complete Mysteries: An Amateur Corpse; Star Trap; So Much Blood; Cast, In Order of Disappearance (Hardcover)
Well written as are all the Simon Brett books I've read, and with some nice twists. Sometimes I get the murderer, sometimes I don't but who cares? The books are a wonderful read and having four in one omnibus volume is a real treat.

Charles Paris is a budding (in denial) alcoholic, a mediocre middle-aged actor and womaniser who has done some good work over the course of his career, with a rotten agent who is nonetheless a valuable source of theatrical gossip. His solicitor friend Gerald Venables makes an appearance too and comes in handy for providing not only the occasional job but the occasional crime for investigation.

'An Amateur Corpse' shows (oh how accurately!) the ridiculous theatricality of amateurs, rarely displayed in professional theatre, but the murderee is unexpected and the murderer (and motive) even more so.

'Star Trap' is a wicked exposé of an actor/comedian, enormously talented but continuously stealing the limelight and is an ideal candidate for murder! However, everytime someone upsets (or even, heaven forbid, upstages him!) something happens to them and Charles is secretly employed by Gerald Venables to find out why.

'So much Blood' takes Charles to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where he is to perform his one-man show on the poetry of Thomas Hood. (I learned quite a bit about Thomas Hood while reading this book as the tantalising glimpses at the head of each chapter whetted my appetite for more!) The D.U.D.S (unfortunate name!) group of mostly theatre students are to perform various works of their own but a surprising number of 'accidents' occur. Very interesting twist at the end when the murderer is finally unmasked!

'Cast in Order of Disappearance' has Charles investigating the death of Marius Steen, a wealthy impresario who has already gifted his estate to his son so who could benefit from his death? Not his pretty young mistress who adored him. A petty blackmailer is murdered too - what links the two? Charles finds himself in a number of difficult (and sometimes comic!) situations in this one but, as always, finally unravels the strings and sorts out the problems to the satisfaction of all concerned.

If you want to read these in chronological order start with 'Cast in Order of Disappearance' and end with 'An Amateur Corpse'
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Location: France

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