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A Comedian Dies [Paperback]

Simon Brett
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Book by Brett, Simon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't measure up to the greats May 25 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
After a steady diet of Dick Francis, one cannot help but be dissapointed in "A Comediane Dies." Unfair, I know, to always judge one author by another, but Brett's characters are simpler, less sympathetic, and generally less intriguing. Moreover, the plot was more predictable than the best of the mystery genre. Certainly it would be boring to read a mystery in which the detective homed directly in on the guilty party, never wavering in his certainty or following false paths. But at the same time, every mystery author knows this, and therefore their readers intuitively know that neither the first, nor the second or usually even the third will turn out to be whodunnit. Read 5 or 7 of the genre and you start to suspect only the least suspectible. The excellent writer, however, will pepper his plot with enough entirely unsuspectible characters to keep the reader both distracted and guessing. Unfortunately, Brett does not, and neither his characters nor his settings are interesting enough to make up for it. The saving grace of the book, if there is one, is the rather adroit and amusingly barbed commentary on the English theatrical and television scene. The pure British wit displayed in these discourses is almost enough to keep the book going - although not, I'm afraid, enough to tempt me to others in his series.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inside look at stage life July 24 2006
By S. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Charles Paris, amateur detective, sets out to try to unmask a killer. A comedian is electrocuted by an improperly wired microphone. No one else thinks its murder, but Charles Paris knows it. The best thing about this book is the inside look at television and stage acting. It's like being in on the inside ot this fascinating world. The book is actually quite funny as well. I enjoyed it. It is definitely in the cosy genre.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun & entertaining July 21 2013
By carol boas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Simon Brett's mysteries are always fun with good plots. They don't take themselves seriously so are perfect for eBook reading while at the gym or lunching alone or on audio for long morning walks. I've bought tons of them.
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre mystery in a great series July 3 2013
By Randee Baty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A Comedian Dies is the 5th book in the Charles Paris series. I've read reviews of books in this series where the reviewers have commented that there is no one to like in the story. This is the first one I've read where that is almost true.

Charles and Francis are taking a vacation together to see if they can fix their marriage. While attending a variety show in the seaside town where they are staying, the lead comedian is electrocuted. Violent death never seems to be far from Charles! Naturally, he refuses to believe that the death is an accident and begins to investigate it.

In the show is an old comedian who is well past his hayday and looking to get back on top. His partner in his old comedy routine has been dead for a long time and through the course of events Charles is asked to reproduce that part which gives him an opportunity to stay involved with all the suspects.

No one involved in the story is likeable except Charles. They all seem to be show business stereotypes that would be unpleasant to be around. As always, Simon Brett nails his characters and they are imminently believable. There is a lot of discussion about what is funny, what comedy is and how comedians work. I found this to be quite enlightening. Simon Brett knows his show business!
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hit or Miss Amateur Sleuth May 27 2010
By John F. Rooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In "A Comedian Dies" Simon Brett again proves that within the mystery genre he is a master of characterization. In Lennie Barber he creates an incisive portrait of a comedian of the old vaudeville school who had once been a headliner in act called Barber and Pole. After Wilkie Pole's death, Lenny soldiered on alone often proving that he was a brilliant comedian who could gauge an audience's mood and deliver the goods even though he was no longer much of a commercial success. A producer wants to create the old Barber and Pole sketches for today's TV audiences so Charles Paris takes on the job of being Pole, the straight man (the feed) in the old act. Brett gives an insightful analysis of comedy as the book develops with many of the old-type jokes included.
As an amateur detective in this one Charles flails around picking one suspect after another for the electrocution murder of comedian Bill Peaky. The acerbic Peaky was disliked by everyone who knew him. In a Robert Barnard or Simon Brett British mystery it's almost a tradition that the murder victim is universally despised by the other characters in the story.
Charles in his detective chores spends a lot of time drinking, and he gets most of his information in bars and pubs. Charles is now fifty, and at the beginning has reconciled with his estranged wife Frances, but as usual the reconciliation only lasts a few days. He is still saddled with Maurice, the laziest talent agent in England. He uses his solicitor friend Gerald to help him in his snooping.
This book isn't as good as some other Brett outings because Charles goes through so many false starts interviewing and accusing one suspect after the other. The case is solved when he runs out of suspects. He's too much of a hit and miss sleuth in this one. What is insightful is the comedic battle of generations, the old vaudeville masters versus the slick TV personalities with their battery of writers.
4.0 out of 5 stars I guessed the killer right off, but that doesn't matter Sept. 30 2008
By Genevieve Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While on holiday, second-rate actor Charles Paris witnesses the apparently accidental death of up and coming comedian Bill Peaky. However, after speaking with some of Peaky's "friends", Paris comes to suspect that Peaky's death was not an accident, but murder.

If you have read any of the other books in Simon Brett's Charles Paris series of mysteries, you will already know just how easy these mysteries are to solve. It is very unusual for me not to guess the killer in one of these books within the first 50 pages, and this book was no exception (as an aside, this is not the case for all of Brett's novels, and in fact, one of Brett's non-series books, "Dead Romantic", is an excellent example of a mystery, and it kept me guessing right to the end). However, you don't read Charles Paris novels for the mystery elements. The mystery is just there to provide a structure to another story of life in the entertainment industry, and that is where Brett's strength lies. Prior to becoming a novelist, Brett worked in the entertainment industry and his stories of what it is really like are both fascinating and hilarious. In this instalment, Brett writes about stand-up comedy and comedy variety shows. The book was written in 1979, so some of the references are a bit dated, but not so much that it matters. This is one of the better Charles Paris novels.
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