Saturday, March 01, 2014

John Mortimer. Charade (1947)

     John Mortimer. Charade (1947) Mortimer’s first novel, reissued in 1987 around the time the Rumpole TV series peaked. The plot concerns a young man who is given a job with a documentary film unit charged with making a film about soldiers training for the assault on Europe. The boy thinks an accident that kills a disliked sergeant was murder, but it’s left up to the reader to figure out the answer, if any. Cryptic hints about prior relationships may be clues, or then again maybe not. It’s possible that Mortimer avoided details that might have made the characters more interesting. The book is loosely based on his experiences with the Crown Film Unit, and too much detail might have allowed identification of the innocent.
     If you know only Rumpole of the Bailey, this book will confound you. It is not nearly as well written, with thin characters, and insufficient background and backstory to clarify motives. It does generate enough mysteries that I kept on reading just to find the answers to the questions. There were precious few, however. ** (2012)

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