cover image A Decent Interval: A Charles Paris Mystery

A Decent Interval: A Charles Paris Mystery

Simon Brett. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-044-7

Brett’s actor-sleuth, Charles Paris, makes a long-overdue comeback in his droll 18th outing (after 1998’s Dead Room Farce). Paris, a has-been, is delighted to get steady work in a new, offbeat English production of Hamlet, featuring reality-show stars Jared Root and Katrina Selsey as Hamlet and Ophelia, and set inside a gigantic model of the Danish prince’s skull. Root’s lack of acting talent raises the tension level on the production, as do his and Selsey’s efforts to out-diva each other. Before long, an “accident” and a murder allow Paris the chance to play amateur sleuth again. Golden-age fans will appreciate the fair-play whodunit, which demonstrates that the form can be adapted to a contemporary setting. Satirical touches, such as Paris’s reaction to a documentary about the 1455 Battle of St. Albans partially set in a shopping mall, keep the atmosphere on the lighter side. Brett has a rare gift for balancing humor and detection. (Aug.)