- published by Severn House 2014
- ISBN 978-1-78029-5
- 186 pages
- #19 in the Charles Paris series
Landing a minor part in the Empire Theatre Eastbourne’s Christmas production of Cinderella, Charles Paris soon discovers that his main role is gently to introduce the show's baffled American star, famous sitcom actor Kenny Polizzi, to the bizarre customs of English pantomime.
During their convivial sessions in the local pub, Charles finds himself increasingly caught up in Polizzi’s tangled affairs as the American fends off a vengeful soon-to-be-ex-wife, an obsessed groupie, and a barely-controlled drink problem. But Charles is about to be far more involved than he might wish when he stumbles across a body beneath Eastbourne Pier, a neat bullet hole in the centre of the forehead.
As the world’s press descends on Eastbourne, the pantomime rehearsals descend into chaos and he himself comes under suspicion, it’s up to Charles to put his renowned sleuthing skills to the test to find out who really killed his fellow cast member – and why.
Until Simon Brett revived the Charles Paris series last year with THE STRANGLING ON THE STAGE we hadn't heard from Charles for about fifteen years. He is still the loveable dipsomaniac and part time bit actor, viewing his world through the bottom of a Bell's bottle.
The books are flavoured by comedy and in this case obviously written by someone who knows his pantomimes. I find that underneath the murder mystery and comedy, Simon Brett also has the occasional serious point to make, the occasional observation of English life, what makes society tick.
This places the books on the lighter side of crime fiction, basically cozy, but very readable.
My rating: 4.2
I've also reviewed
BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES
THE POISONING IN THE PUB
4.4, THE SHOOTING IN THE SHOP
4.3, SO MUCH BLOOD
4.2, A DECENT INTERVAL
4.5, BONES UNDER THE BEACH HUT
4.2, GUNS IN THE GALLERY
4.6, THE CORPSE ON THE COURT
4.3, THE STRANGLING ON THE STAGE