SIMON BRETT – Cast, in Order of Disappearance. Charles Paris #1. Gollancz, UK, hardcover, 1975. Charles Scribner’s Sons, US, hardcover, 1975. Berkley, US, paperback, 1979.  Dell, US, paperback, 1986.

   The British entertainment industry is the target of some rather pointed jabs  as a new sleuth makes his debut. He’s actor Charles. Paris, now 47, and relegated to BBC radio productions and third-rate horror movies , with a tendency toward  drink and dalliance. Without quite knowing how, he finds himself in a [mystery] affair of dirty pictures and the pretty young widow of an aging producer.

   His actor’s voice and disguises do come in handy, but this is   not a whodµnit,  the questions are [rather] how and why, built precariously on coincidence  and second-hand clues. Veddy British, but with undeniable charm and humor. Paris is an engaging fellow, in spite of his faults,. and hints are that he’ll soon return.

Rating: B

– Very slightly revised from The MYSTERY FANcier, January 1977 (Vol. 1, No. 1)