Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Simon Brett. So Much Blood (1976)

     Simon Brett. So Much Blood (1976) Charles Paris gets week-long gig replacing a cancelled show at the Edinburgh Fringe. During a rehearsal for another play by the same group, the Derby University Dramatic Society, or D.U.D.S., an objectionable young man dies when a prop knife turns out to be a real one. Paris believes it’s murder, and sets out to solve the puzzle. A double twist in the plot confirms the reader’s early inference about the perp’s identity. Along the way Paris has an affair with a careerist young actress, finds a friend who shares his literary and whiskey tastes, briefly reconnects with his wife Frances (they are separated), and provides Brett with an opportunity to show off his knowledge of Edinburgh’s streetscape. The writing varies from barely competent to evocative. Brett indulges in some mild satire on theatrical types, especially the earnest non-professionals who believe that The Theatre is hopelessly out of date. The result, like one of the D.U.D.S. reviews, has good bits, but lacks the coherence of character, ambience, and plot that would make for a satisfying novel.
     Brett has also done other series, TV scripts (my vague memory records better than average videos), and has produced and directed miscellaneous plays and TV series. See his Wikipedia entry for more. This effort seems to me to be below his average, probably because it’s only the 2nd book, an apprentice work. But I’ll have to read a couple more Paris mysteries to confirm that. **  **

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