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Situation Tragedy by Simon Brett

Situation Tragedy (1981)

by Simon Brett

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This volume comes quite early on in the sequence of Simon Brett's novels featuring down at heel actor, turned sleuth, Charles Paris, and represented a bit of a lapse from the high quality of the rest of the series. For once the plot is rather flimsy, and came as a bit of a disappointment after I had recently read so many of the other instalments. However, even though it doesn't quite match up to some of its stronger counterparts 'Situation Tragedy' still manages to entertain.

As usual, Brett provides sharp, satirical insight into the world of the jobbing actor. In this outing, Charles Paris has landed a supporting role in The Strutters, a television situation comedy resonant with all the horrors that those two words convey to the thinking man or woman. While the cast relax in the bar at West End Television's centre after having recorded the pilot episode, strident Production Assistant Sadie Reynolds, who has already made a name for herself among the cast and crew as a consequence of her sharp tongue and relentless impatience, fall to her death from a fire escape staircase when the railing gives way. Initially dismissed as an accident, this proves to be merely the first of a series of fatal accidents.

Brett gives us a hilarious introduction to the vacuities of situation comedy writers, the self-aggrandising dreams of young directors and the brittle vanities of television actors. The plot may be a little weak this time, but the book is no less entertaining than ever. ( )
  Eyejaybee | May 13, 2014 |
Charles Paris has managed to get himself a recurring part on a sit-com, providing steady employment and a decent income. Neither of these are things Charles is use to. He’s working for W.E.T. now instead of the BBC and as usual, Simon Brett’s behind the scenes insights into the workings of television are an integral part of the pleasure of reading this series.

The mystery starts with the death of a very much disliked Producer’s Assistant. Only Charles seems to feel that the “accident” might have been something more. As the filming of the series goes on and the deaths start to mount up, Charles knows he’s onto something and begins to investigate. While the mystery did take a while for me to solve, the murderer was not surprising or shocking. It had a very satisfactory resolution that gave good closure to the story.

Charles Paris is a flawed but loveable person that you enjoy meeting time and time again. This book, like all in this series, gives such an insight into the working life of actors and the mediums they work in. Brett points up the sheer silliness of the sit com genre and yet you don’t feel like he’s really insulting it, just pointing out the obvious flaws of a guilty pleasure we all indulged in once in a while. ( )
  Mrsbaty | Jul 10, 2013 |
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"TELEVISION: A medium, so called because it is neither rare nor well done." (Ernie Kovacs)
To the people who taught me the value of television, with gratitude.
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The cast didn't see the opening titles for West End Television's new situation comedy until just before the Dress Run on the day of the pilot recording in January.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595003508, Paperback)

West End Television are planning a new situation-comedy series, to be called The Struttters. From the outset, things go horribly wrong with the new series. Odd accidentsif they are accidentsremove, one by one, the sharp-tongued Production Assistant, the self-effacing script-writer, the hearty Floor Manager. Death even takes from us the revolting Yorkshire terrier, Cocky, whos the idol of the indestructible Dame Aurelia Howarth, theatrical star for fifty years. Theres no discernible pattern in all this, but Simon Bretts regular sleuth, the bit-player Charles Paris, is confidently on the trail of another mass murderer. But the bizarre solution, brilliantly led up to, surprises even him.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

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Charles Paris is cast as a bartender in a TV sitcom series, and from the first, the show is plagued by odd accidents. Charles sets out on the trail of a mass murderer.

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