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You Might As Well Die by J.J. Murphy
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You Might As Well Die

by J.J. Murphy

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The Algonquin Round Table was a literary salon that met in the Algonquin Hotel in New York in the 1920s, bringing together some of the great writers in that time and place, more specifically, Dorothy Parker and Peter Benchley, but also including Harold Ross, Robert Sherwood and Alexander Woollcott. The conceit here is that Parker and Benchley become amateur detectives in the Thin Man tradition solving crimes of an artistic bent. These writers were wits of the highest order and the author tries to inject some of that bon mots humour into the novel, with some, but not complete, success.

Murphy describes the 1920s New York world well and squeezes in several references to historical people, places and events. What is missing here, I think, is the acid burn of the original writers. They were funny with their puns and speedy retorts, but the real laughs came with an edge of maliciousness and Murphy does not deliver on that.

The plot is fairly standard with a nice twist half way through, but peters out after that as too much of the book is concerned with tying up loose ends and the sub-plots do not compensate for that. ( )
  pierthinker | May 1, 2017 |
This second volume in the series was OK, a very light read. Naming a main character in a mystery Ernie McGuffin made one part of it very easy to guess. At least the mystery took another turn after that, though not an unexpected one, that was harder to solve. ( )
  SF_fan_mae | Feb 1, 2016 |
This is the second book in the punny and funny An Algonquin Round Table Mystery series. Many of the characters and the Algonquin room are real, but the story itself is fiction. Not a page goes by that there isn't a pun or the reader won't chuckle.

Dorothy Parker has the dubious honor of being selected by Ernie MacGuffin, an artist of covers for pulp magazines, to what turns out to be his suicide note. Parker and and Benchley, shortly before midnight, are leaving their favorite speakeasy when Parker remembers the note. She reads the note, only to find out that Ernie is going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight. They make a dash for the bridge, but arrive there to find Ernie's shoes and a painting of the bridge. But a body is never found.

Trying to find out more about the life of Ernie to write a story, Dorothy comes a former stripper who claims to have had contact with Ernie from the other side. The Great Houdini is in town and he is talked into attending a seance with Dorothy. Of course they find that Ernie is not really dead, but only working a scam to make his paintings valuable. In the meantime, it is also learned that Ernie's widow is seeing someone from her hometown. Then Ernie's body is found, but he has been murdered.

So, Dorothy and Benchley need to learn whether it was the wife, the shady lawyer who was running his own scam with Ernie's paintings after the apparent suicide,or possibly the new boyfriend.

A thoroughly enjoyable story with very interesting characters.

Looking forward to the next punny one. ( )
  yoder | Sep 20, 2013 |
"Fresh Meat" by Katrina Niidas Holm for Criminal Element

I confess – after I’ve closed the cover on a book, the details don’t stay with me for all that long. After a month or so has passed, I’ve probably forgotten all but the broadest strokes of the plot, and I likely couldn’t tell you who died or whodunit if you put a gun to my head.

One thing I do tend to remember, however, is a strong sense of atmosphere. For me, there are some books that take place in a world so fully realized that I actually grow nostalgic for it when I’m away; I find myself hankering to be surrounded by its sights, scents, sounds, and people.

Author J.J. Murphy created such a place when he wrote his first Algonquin Round Table Mystery, Murder Your Darlings, and I’ve been itching for a return visit ever since. And now, thanks to the December release of Murphy’s latest, You Might as Well Die, I finally have my wish.

(Read the rest at http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2011/12/fresh-meat-jj-murphys-you-might-as-... )
  CrimeHQ | Apr 11, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451235320, Mass Market Paperback)

When second-rate illustrator Ernie MacGuffin's artistic works triple in value following his apparent suicide off the Brooklyn Bridge, Dorothy Parker smells something fishy. Enlisting the help of magician and skeptic Harry Houdini, she goes to a séance held by MacGuffin's mistress, where Ernie's ghostly voice seems hauntingly real...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:03 -0400)

When second-rate illustrator Ernie MacGuffin's artistic works triple in value following his apparent suicide off the Brooklyn Bridge, Dorothy Parker smells something fishy. Enlisting the help of magician and skeptic Harry Houdini, she goes to a s?ance held by MacGuffin's mistress, where Ernie's ghostly voice seems hauntingly real...… (more)

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