Wed 29 Feb 2012
SIMON BRETT – A Series of Murders. Scribner’s, US, hardcover, 1989; Warner, paperback, 1990. First published in the UK: Gollancz, hardcover, 1989.
Chronically under-employed actor Charles Paris seems to have finally landed on his feet. He’s got the part of dim-witted Sgt. Clump in a six-part series based on the “Golden Age” Mystery Novels of W.T. Wintergreen, and if all goes well, he may suddenly become a celebrity.
Only All isn’t going Well: The Lead Actor can only play himself; Sippy Stokes, the girl playing his daughter, was hired because she slept with the Director; and Wintergreen keeps hanging around the set complaining about the changes they’re making in her books.
Then Charles discovers the body of Sippy Stokes in the prop room, buried under a shelf full of props. Everyone else seems satisfied it was an accident, but when he notices a detail in a scene filmed around the time of Sippy’s demise, Charles begins to nose around.
I wouldn’t rate this one as highly as several others in the series, chiefly because it isn’t hard to figure out the Murderer, but Series of Murders is still worth a look for the details about how a TV series is produced in England, as well as for the humor that always permeates a Charles Paris case.