cover image Break a Leg, Darlings

Break a Leg, Darlings

Marian Babson, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-15285-7

Babson pushes the limits of the British cozy in this rambling buddy tale centered around the London pub theater scene. Veteran stage and screen actresses Trixie and Evangeline (seen in Even Yuppies Die, 1996) decide that, since new parts aren't coming to them, they must actively seek new roles in the theatrical fringe. But it's an aesthetically painful endeavor. On one evening, they sneak away from an excruciatingly bad poetry reading only to have the fierce Irish performer's dog, a wolfhound named The Semtex, follow them home and decides to stay with them. Although they are happy to hook up with a group of young men calling themselves the Open and Shut Club (they attend initial and final performances), the veteran actresses are less enchanted when screen diva Sweetums Carew joins the group and challenges their leads to new plays. The ditzy doings turn dangerous when Sweetums dies of a fall down a pub's steep stairs, the dog's owner issues ferocious threats to them if they don't return the beast and Trixie finds herself pushed down a stairway. While the bickering, aging actresses and their outlandish antics are entertaining, the lack of suspense in Babson's story may make mystery readers despair. (Mar.)