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Cast, in Order of Disappearance by Simon…
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Cast, in Order of Disappearance (1975)

by Simon Brett

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    Murder on Cue by Jane Dentinger (Mrsbaty)
    Mrsbaty: Same theatrical setting, same writing style
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When I was 15 or 16 we spent Christmas with my older sister who was already married and she gave me one of the coolest Christmas presents I had ever had. She had ordered a "grab bag" from a mystery book catalog. This was where they just put 5 random mysteries in a box and send it to you so you had no idea what you might get. I thought this was so much fun!

I don't remember what 4 of those books were, though I'm certain they are still on my shelves somewhere. The 5th one however, led me to what has become one of my favorite authors and series of all time. That book was So Much Blood by Simon Brett. It's the second in the Charles Paris mystery series.

Simon Brett published 17 books in this series, the last one in 1997. I loved them all. He then went on to write several other series including Mrs. Pargeter and the Feathering series. I assumed, sadly, he was done with Charles Paris. But now, 17 years later, he has a new Charles Paris book coming out on July 1st. I'm starting a re-read of the series in order to get back into his world before I read the new book. I'm so excited!

The first book in this series is Cast, in order of Disappearance. We are introduced to Charles Paris, a chronically out of work London actor. We find out that he drinks too much and is a womanizer. But in my mind, he is a classic British amateur sleuth in the best traditions of classic British amateur sleuths.

In his first outing, he is asked by a young actress he knows to find out why her boyfriend, a prominent figure in British theater, wants nothing to do with her anymore. Charles is reluctant but always influenced by a pretty young thing. Soon the boyfriend turns up dead, blackmail pictures are circulated, the blackmailer turns up dead, it's all just a big mess for Charles. Throw in the blackmailer's wife who comes on to him at every opportunity and a petrol crisis that has all of England thinking twice about their mode of transportation and you've got a complicated puzzle for Charles to figure out.

This book is pure fun, smart and witty. The behind the scenes looks at the British theater and the BBC are fascinating throughout the whole series. I'm so glad to see that Charles is coming back! ( )
  Mrsbaty | Jun 18, 2013 |
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Book description
Who killed Marius Steen, the theatrical tycoon with a fortune to leave his young mistress Jacqui? And who killed Bill Sweet, the shady blackmailer with a supply of compromising photographs? Charles Paris, a middle-aged actor who keeps going on booze and women, takes to detection, by assuming a variety of roles, among them that of a Scotland Yard Detective-Sergeant, and the results are both comic and dramatic. As the mythical McWhirter of the Yard, he actually precipitates the crime; as one of the blackmailers victims, he finds himself in bed with the blackmailers wife; as a small-part player in a horror film (The Zombie Walks), he gets shot at by a murderer. And he arrives at the solution by way of the petrol crisis and an abortive attack of the German measles. Its a light-hearted frolic that is, at the same time, a beautifully ingenious puzzle, and it fizzes with fun and wit.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595003397, Paperback)

Text for Author Bio: Simon Brett is a former radio and television comedy producer, who has been writing full-time for more than twenty years. Creator of the Charles Parks, Mrs. Pargeter and Feathering series of mysteries, his psychological thriller, A Shock to the System was filmed, starring Michael Caine. Married, with three children, he lives in an Agatha Christie-style village in West Sussex, England. Text for Book Description: Who killed Marius Steen, the theatrical tycoon with a fortune to leave his young mistress Jacqui? And who killed Bill Sweet, the shady blackmailer with a supply of compromising photographs? Charles Paris, a middle-aged actor who keeps going on booze and women, takes to detection, by assuming a variety of roles, among them that of a Scotland Yard Detective-Sergeant, and the results are both comic and dramatic. As the mythical McWhirter of the Yard, he actually precipitates the crime; as one of the blackmailers victims, he finds himself in bed with the blackmailers wife; as a small-part player in a horror film (The Zombie Walks), he gets shot at by a murderer. And he arrives at the solution by way of the petrol crisis and an abortive attack of the German measles. Its a light-hearted frolic that is, at the same time, a beautifully ingenious puzzle, and it fizzes with fun and wit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Who killed Marcus Steen, the theatrical tycoon with a fortune to leave to his young mistress Jacqui? And who killed Bill Sweet, the shady blackmailer with a supply of compromising photographs? Charles Paris, a middle-aged actor addicted to booze and women, decides to investigate by assuming a variety of roles, among them that of the mythical Detective Sergeant McWhirter. But, as Paris is about to discover only too painfully, impersonating a police officer is never a good idea.… (more)

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