Death of a Critic: An Alex Grismolet Mystery

Dean Fuller, Author Little Brown and Company $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-29601-4
Flowing prose and a drop-dead beginning can't fully redeem the muddled development of the latest case for Paris's Chief Inspector Alex Grismolet, seen last in A Death in Paris. The City of Lights' most influential and reviled theater critic, Virgile de la Pagerie, collapses and dies a few minutes after the curtain goes up on a new production of Jean Anouilh's Eurydice. The situation turns sticky when Grismolet learns that his ward, Philippa, a beautiful 21-year-old ballerina, was the dead man's date for the evening. In a case where nearly everyone who knew the victim had reason to wish him dead, Grismolet must weed out suspects. He's also left with one of the critic's last columns, which denounces the neo-Nazi movement in France--an odd subject for a theater critic. Grismolet's search takes him to some charming provinces, including Langue d'Oc, where a young girl has seen visions of the Virgin. The plot, however, never heats up, despite its religious and political content, and the bizarre resolution demands a great act of faith from readers, who may be unsettled by the ambiguous relationship between Philippa and her 37-year-old guardian. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 978-0-316-92601-0
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