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A Criminal Comedy Hardcover – January 20, 1986

2 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two Englishmen have met suspicious ends in Veniceone by gunshot, the other by drowning. That much is certain but nothing else is. Murder? Suicide? Accident? Another mystery is the anonymous notes sent to residents of a quiet English village, spreading the scandalous though false word of an affair between Derek Crowley and Gerda Porson. She is the wife of Crowley's business partner, the unspeakable Charles Porson, a tireless macho who adores handguns and the spanking-and-bondage ritual meted out by his bored, disgusted wife, who is in love only with his money. Was the drug-laced Bloody Mary intended for Porson? How to explain Derek's wife's penchant for masculine clothing? Who loaded the supposedly blank pistol in an amateur theatrical production? Long afterward, Jason Durling's brilliant deductive sleuthing will resolve the murders left unsolved by trhe Italian police and ignored by Scotland Yard; but he will come to great grief in his turn. Again Symons meets his own high standards: this tale is quickwitted, civilized, highly intelligent, sharply observed, complicated without being cluttered, and always in the firm control of a dextrous and accomplished storyteller. U.K. rights: William Heinemann; translation rights: Curtis Brown. January
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st American ed edition (January 20, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067080827X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670808274
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,865,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A rather indifferent mystery. There really aren't any likeable characters, and it takes forever for one of them to die. It was the revelation of whodunnit that irritated me extremely. To go into further detail would be to ruin the plot. It... well, while not unplausible, it was inadequately telegraphed for my taste.
This story was all wrong in the details; the numerous "news clippings" sounded nothing like actual articles. And furthermore, rather than ending at the point which would have provided a certain degree of spookiness (guilty... or are they? and will they ever be brought to justice?), the author ends the whole thing with another stupid news article that makes everything Painfully Crystal Clear.
In short: don't waste your time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Possibly the best thing about this mystery is that it doesn't follow the usual mystery story line. There are some anonymous messages sent, a couple of somewhat puzzling possible attempts to kill someone, and a lot of speculation about it all before a murder is actually committed, about two-thirds of the way through the book. But--are the deaths that occur actually murder? Or are they accident and suicide? The police are involved for a while, but it is the other characters who do most of the conjecturing. And one character in particular who finally works everything out. The characters are well-drawn, the dialogue believable. There is a newspaper story towards the end which purports to sum everything up. But, the case not having been solved, it is basically a rehash of everything the reader already knows--and not nearly as interestingly told as it was the first time through. It could be skipped without losing a thing. The outcome is surprising--and rather contemporary for a book written 30 years ago. Worth a read if you want something a little different.
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