SIMON BRETT Situation Tragedy

SIMON BRETT – Situation Tragedy. Scribner’s, hardcover, 1982. First published in the UK by Victor Gollancz, hardcover, 1981. Dell/Murder Ink #57, paperback, 1986. Warner, paperback, 1990.

   In case you’ve never come across one of these mystery adventures of actor-sleuth Charles Paris before, be forewarned: there will be times when you will be convinced that if there is any detection going on it is definitely taking second place to Simon Brett’s witty, caustic commentary on the world of show business, British style.

   In this, his seventh case, Paris tackles the world of commercial television. Somewhat to his own surprise, he has a bit part in a new sitcom. It’s a continuing part, at least — but so’s the series of fatal “accidents” that begin to plague the show, and even before the first episode is ever aired.

   Also be forewarned that Charles Paris is something of a tosspot and a womanizer, but he is certainly also one not to be overly impressed with the glamour of show-biz. There are also a couple of digs at the peculiarities of some mystery collectors. (Nobody who doesn’t deserve it!)

   The ending is tragic, scarcely believable, and yet, mostly a fitting one.

Rating: B

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 6, No. 3, May-June 1982 (very slightly revised).This review first appeared in the Hartford Courant.

The Charles Paris series —

1. Cast in Order of Disappearance (1975)
2. So Much Blood (1976)
3. Star Trap (1977)
4. An Amateur Corpse (1978)
5. A Comedian Dies (1979)
6. The Dead Side of the Mike (1980)
7. Situation Tragedy (1981)

SIMON BRETT Situation Tragedy

8. Murder Unprompted (1982)
9. Murder in the Title (1983)
10. Not Dead, Only Resting (1984)
11. Dead Giveaway (1985)
12. What Bloody Man is That (1987)
13. A Series of Murders (1989)
14. Corporate Bodies (1991)
15. A Reconstructed Corpse (1993)
16. Sicken and So Die (1995)
17. Dead Room Farce (1997)
18. A Decent Interval (2013)