A 1001 MIDNIGHTS Review
by Julie Smith


JANE DENTINGER – First Hit of the Season. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1984. Dell, paperback, 1985. Penguin, paperback, 1993.

   Critic Jason Saylin used his typewriter like a machete, hacking bits and pieces off the reputation of his least favorite actress almost daily. The lady in question, Irene Ingersoll, hated him so much she once dumped a plate of fettucini on him in a restaurant. Which was absolutely no reason to suspect her of doing him in — even though she had excellent opportunity and ample motive.

   Or such is the theory of Ingersoll’s pal, actress and amateur sleuth Jocelyn O’ Roarke. O’ Roarke happens to be the girlfriend of Phillip Gerrard, the detective assigned to the case, who wants her of course, to mind her own business. And that, luckily for Dentinger’s readers, is about as likely as Sarah Bernhardt’s return to the stage.

   Dentinger introduced the likable O’Roarke in her first book, the very well-reviewed Murder on Cue, published in 1983. She’s plucky, smart, and deliciously caustic: “The muscles in Maxine’s face twitched as much as two face jobs would let them.” Dentinger, an actress herself, writes with an insider’s knowledge of Manhattan’s theatrical subculture and with a literacy obviously achieved by voracious reading of books as well as plays. Fans of witty, witchy dialogue will find themselves laughing out loud.

Reprinted with permission from 1001 Midnights, edited by Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2007.   Copyright © 1986, 2007 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust.

      The Jocelyn O’Roarke series

1. Murder on Cue (1983)
2. First Hit of the Season (1984)
3. Death Mask (1988)
4. Dead Pan (1992)
5. The Queen is Dead (1994)
6. Who Dropped Peter Pan? (1995)