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Groucho Marx, Private Eye Hardcover – April, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312198957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312198954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,055,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a young singer offers him a fee for his services, Groucho Marx, PI, turns her down. "So far we run our detective agency on a completely altruistic basisAsomewhat in the manner of Robin Hood. If you can envision a middle-aged Yiddish Robin Hood... suppose Rueben Hood would be too obvious a name?" As he did in Groucho Marx, Master Detective, veteran mystery and SF writer Goulart has caught the voice and social conscience of his hero to perfection, even if the mystery plot he's involved him in is a tad shopworn. It's 1938, and the name of the radio show that Groucho is starring in and narrator Frank Denby is writing has been changed to please a new sponsor. A leading plastic surgeon and drug supplier to the Hollywood elite is found shot to death; a faded star named Frances London is arrested for the crime; her daughter, a singer on Groucho's show, asks Groucho and Denby to use their real-life detective skills to clear her name. Some top gangsters are involved, as is the crooked Bay City cop who dogged the duo's heels in their first book. The story may be weak, but Groucho's jokes, some fine period details and guests appearances by everyone from Conrad Nagel to Nathanael West help make this a whole lot of fun.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

His heartless producers have renamed Groucho Marx's radio show, dug him up a new sponsorMullens Pudding, which brags about coming in five flavorful flavorsand stuck him with a horrid supporting actress, Polly Pilgrim, who plays his daughter on the air and his scourge everywhere else. Sadly, Polly's cyanide repartee is swiftly humbled when her actress mother Frances London is picked up for killing her recent beau, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Russell Benninger. Will Groucho and his scriptwriter, ex-crime reporter Frank Denby, buck some threatening local mobsters and the equally corrupt Bayside cops and get Frances out of jail? Can a duck walk? In no time at all, Groucho and Frank establish that Benninger was up to his roving eyes in drugs, that he'd run afoul of some pretty tough characters, and that Groucho is perfectly capable of wising off even at gunpoint. (Frank's girlfriend, cartoonist Jane Danner, is just as witty, and Mullens Maiden Victoria St. John's ramblings add a touch of Dada to the proceedings.) As in Groucho Marx, Master Detective (1998), though, the tired, busy plot seems to have come from a bunch of lower-paid writers than the ones who wrote the dialogue, and Goulart's constant habit of splitting up Groucho and his alleged amanuensis seems like a lazy way to get around the problems of first-person narration. Still, it's refreshing to spend another couple of hours in 1938 Hollywood, where the Third Reich is a distant rumble and the most minor characters, from whores to countermen, identify themselves as actors. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I anxiously awaited this 2nd book in the Groucho Marx mystery series and only recently found the time to sit down and read it. After 3 or 4 chapters I realized this is not as good as Mr. Goulart's 1st Groucho book-Groucho Marx, Master Detective-every line on every page was golden. This, however, is slow moving and not as well written as the previous book. It's almost as though it was dashed off in a hurry. The editing itself is very poor, I found several typos that made little or no sense. I hope that the 3rd Groucho book brings back that pizazz found in the 1st book. Get it? Got it? Good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roger Long on March 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The first Groucho/detective novel was only so-so, and this second attempt is not as good. It wears a little thin, the mindless wisecracks. The Groucho persona of the Marx Brothers movies was certainly zany, but there was no serious jeopardy implied. It just doesn't work, somehow, in a detective novel, no matter how hard Mr. Goulart tries.
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Format: Hardcover
Place yourself in the mid-1930s. The US has been in a depression. Hitler and pushing at their borders in Europe. In Hollywood, the Marx Brothers are approaching the end of their film careers. Groucho is expanding his career into radio. And, in this 6 book series, we can imagine Groucho has also teamed up with scriptwriter Frank Denby to solve the occasional crime, attempting to stay one step ahead of the bad guys – including the corrupt members of the local constabulary.

The second book in the series, “Groucho Marx, Private Eye”, contains a title with two meanings. First, it's the title of Groucho's (and Frank's) current radio show, and second, it reflects the actions taken by the pair when co-star Polly Pilgram's mother is accused of murder – and when the woman subsequently disappears while on bail.

People looking for underlying meaning and depth in their choice of literature will probably hate this book, and the author will probably attempt – and fail – to suppress laughter should they complain to him about it. The goal here is a simple light-hearted mystery, providing the reader an opportunity to enjoy a few paragraphs while having a chuckle or two, and without having to think too hard to follow the plot. Recommended for light readers, for fans of the Marx Brothers and 1930s Hollywood, and even film noir fans who are willing to put their tongues in their cheeks for a couple of hundred pages.

RATING: 5 stars
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By Surfvh on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Groucho Marx, Private Eye

Don't let the other reviews scare you off. There are 6 books in the series, and all of them are great. Ron Goulart really knows Hollywood in the 30's and 40's. His literary, film, and radio allusions really add to the fun. The repartee between the characters is snappy and funny, especially when compared to the boring soap opera drivel in most modern mysteries. Also Ron Goulart avoids the common last refuge of poor authors; lots of swear words and detailed sexual encounters. Instead he provides a solid set of mysteries that make you wish there were more. How about it, Ron? When are you going to release number 7 . . ?
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By Kris on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For all of the people who love the Marx brothers will love this book because it's a close representation of the character.
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