cover image Movie: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

Movie: A Stanley Hastings Mystery Novel

Parnell Hall. Mysterious Press, $19.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-569-4

Following last year's Blackmail, Stanley Hastings's 10th adventure is strictly for fans of the first nine; others will find the actor/PI all too convincing when he complains about just how ``dull and painful'' movie-making can be. Stanley is elated when producer Sidney Garfellow hires him to write the screenplay of ``a karate movie with four hot babes'' to be shot in New York City. While scouting out a warehouse for a location, Stanley and crew discover the corpse of a derelict killed by a blow to the head. When the neophyte screenwriter is not listing such dreary details as the number of pages of script shot per day, he gripes about the pampered star who rewrites lines as he goes. A second death, the suspicious fatal fall of a crew member, disrupts production. While the ambitious producer exploits the murder's publicity possibilities, an NYPD sergeant, antagonistic toward Stanley from previous meetings, questions everyone in sight, spurring Stanley's ``nagging desire to wipe that smug smile off his face by solving the crime first.'' That's as charming as Stanley gets in this appearance, in which even the puzzle, based on exploitation and revenge, is a disappointment. (Mar.)