cover image A Series of Murders

A Series of Murders

Simon Brett. Scribner Book Company, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19096-9

Charles Paris's 13th appearance finds the bibulous, sorrowful, often unemployed actor/sleuth appearing in a British TV series based on mystery novels featuring a Lord Peter Wimsey-like detective. Paris takes his part as a police-sergeant foil to the aristocratic lead beyond the set after a cast member is murdered during the first episode's taping. As Charles tries to ferret out murderer and motive, the show goes on location where the assistant stage manager is pushed to his death from a castle window. The producer bemoans the cost of falling behind schedule, the cast squabbles and backbites and the genteel elderly author of the books and her semi-dotty sister complain about liberties taken with the texts. The TV production atmosphere, Charles's likable, if lugubrious, nature and the well-drawn supporting cast compel more interest than the plot until the modern-day resolution ties up the tale with an unexpected twist. (Oct.)