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.