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An Amateur Corpse by Simon Brett

An Amateur Corpse (1978)

by Simon Brett

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If you're in to the modern mayhem style of crime story in which the method of murder becomes more and more gory with pages of graphic description; don't bother with these books. If, however, you like a cerebral challenge, then these are for you.

Charles Paris, our sleuth, is much less expert than Sherlock Holmes, or Hercules Poirot: not for him a study of the different types of rare cigarette that becomes germane. Paris blunders to a conclusion via many a cul de sac and false path. He is, primarily, a jobbing actor - never to reach the heights of the profession, and yet, an actor. One needs to put aside the concern that to be associated with Mr P. is as dangerous an occupation as to be a friend of Miss Marple and then, one simply has to settle back into a comfy chair and enjoy the ride.

I have made an effort to follow the series from the start and it is interesting to see how Simon Brett has developed what was a fair first book into a gripping collection. I cannot wait to start the next title. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Feb 5, 2018 |
A not particularly engaging, though inoffensive mystery. It seems rather mired in the 70's, even if the main character and detective tries to be both Nick and Nora Charles. Not bad and the mystery makes sense for the most part but a bit heavy-handed and not a page turner. One to Cross.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
An Amateur Corpse has a different feel from the first three Charles Paris mysteries because Charles isn’t actually in a production. He’s been asked to be the Critic in a Critic’s Circle for an amateur theater. Charles has gotten suckered into it because his old college friend Hugo’s wife is in the play. He’s supposed to provide professional critique on the amateur performances. Of course, no one really wants to be critiqued, they want to be praised and don’t appreciate it when that isn’t exactly what Charles does.

When one of this troop of amateurs turns up dead, Charles doesn’t like the answer the police are coming up with and begins snooping around on his own. His answers don’t seem to be the same as the ones the police have and after a few twists and turns, outs the killer.

The mystery takes center stage this book. In the first three, it felt as if the The Theater was as important as the mystery but not in this one. The bulk of this story is about Charles’ investigation. As a mystery lover, I like that. The theater is a great setting but doesn’t need to dominate the story to the exclusion of the mystery. I also love that there are lots of references to past stories. I like continuity.

Simon Brett has a great feel for his characters. You believe the motivations and emotions and that those motivations and emotions would lead to the actions of the characters. While this might not be considered “great literature” by artsy types, it gives a lot of insight into human nature. And it entertains me! What more can I ask from a book? ( )
  Mrsbaty | Jul 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595003591, 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: An Amateur Corpseanother fascinating Simon Brett mystery set in the backdrop of theater. Charles Paris is a part-time detective and professional actor, drawn into the affairs of an amateur theater company. Charless friend Hugos wife is murdered, and Hugo is charged with the crime. Now, Paris takes on the case personally. The solution to the mystery lies in a clever double alibi. An Amateur Corpse is an absorbing, and entertaining account of theatrical backstaging, backscratching and backbiting.Text for Review Box: "A fine series!" Newsday"The solution is at once ingenious and credible and, on the way to it, the author enjoys himself as the reader will too at the expense of his minor characters." Financial Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:36 -0400)

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Part-time detective and professional actor, Charles Paris, is drawn into the affairs of an amateur theater company when his friend Hugo is charged with the murder of his wife.

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