Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This fascinating novel is not to be missed!
There's a new Bradbury book out.
Oh...I'm sorry. Are you still here? You need to know more than that? Well, I'm not really qualified to say more than that. Or, if I am qualified, let's say I'm not worthy. When I opened the manila envelope and LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE fell out, with the word "BRADBURY" across the top in big capital letters --- not "Ray Bradbury," just...
Published on January 11, 2003 by Bookreporter

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable at times, but Bradbury is out of his element here
Ray Bradbury's murder mystery novel "Let's All Kill Constance" opens with the words "It was a dark and stormy night." Bradbury playfully winks at his readers with this notoriously (albeit intentionally) cliched introduction, letting us in on the joke of the novel: "Let's All Kill Constance" is a murder mystery, yes, but a murder mystery played out as high camp, all...
Published on March 13, 2003 by Emerick Rogul


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable at times, but Bradbury is out of his element here, March 13, 2003
By 
Emerick Rogul (Belmont, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
Ray Bradbury's murder mystery novel "Let's All Kill Constance" opens with the words "It was a dark and stormy night." Bradbury playfully winks at his readers with this notoriously (albeit intentionally) cliched introduction, letting us in on the joke of the novel: "Let's All Kill Constance" is a murder mystery, yes, but a murder mystery played out as high camp, all poetic hyperbole and exaggeration. When aging film star Constance Rattigan appears at an unnamed writer's beachfront bungalow (the writer is a barely-disguised younger version of Bradbury himself) with two "Books of the Dead", Bradbury finds himself plunged into a mysterious world of Tinseltown ghosts. Someone is trying to scare Constance by dredging up these ghosts from her past; the books she discovered list long-forgotten friends and acqaintances--many dead or close to death--with Constance's name appearing among them. Bradbury and Constance both comprehend the unspoken threat: Constance may be the next to die. It's up to Bradbury to figure out who's behind this macabre plot, and quickly... before Constance's past finally catches up with her--for good.

With his (often unwilling) sidekick, Elmo Crumley, in toe, Bradbury searches everywhere for clues to the mystery and Rattigan's past. Along the way, he crosses paths with a host of strange characters: a decrepit man who lives amid reams of ancient newsprints; an immense fortune teller, Queen Califia, who holds many secrets of her own; a fearful priest who presides over St. Vibiana's Cathedral; and an ancient film projectionist who surrounds himself with scenes from Hollywood's golden years. As Bradbury delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that nothing is what it seems, and there is no telling what secrets ultimately lie buried deep below Grauman's Chinese movie theater--and beyond.

This novel is Bradbury's third (after Death Is a Lonely Business and A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities) foray into the mystery/detective genre, and unfortunately, it's his least successful. As always, Bradbury writes in an archly poetic style, but here that style is exaggerated to the point of parody. The novel is a quick read, weighing in at a scant 210 pages; chapters end almost before they begin and there is a rushed feeling to the proceedings. Bradbury doesn't allow his readers any chance to savor the plot, as he seems intent on quickly rushing from scene to scene while introducing new characters (all of whom speak with a rat-a-tat, hard-boiled sameness that robs them of any emotion). In the end, "Let's All Kill Constance" manages to feel both drawn-out and not fleshed-out enough.

I'm an admirer of Bradbury's work and I eagerly looked forward to this book after hearing about its release, but ultimately, I was disappointed by it. The situations and characters do not feel realistic or involving. More to the point, Bradbury's overly stylized approach, which is typically so engaging, does not do this book justice. If you're interested in exploring one of Bradbury's more successful attempts at this genre, I would recommend reading the wonderful Death Is a Lonely Business.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This fascinating novel is not to be missed!, January 11, 2003
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
There's a new Bradbury book out.
Oh...I'm sorry. Are you still here? You need to know more than that? Well, I'm not really qualified to say more than that. Or, if I am qualified, let's say I'm not worthy. When I opened the manila envelope and LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE fell out, with the word "BRADBURY" across the top in big capital letters --- not "Ray Bradbury," just "BRADBURY" --- it struck me that this giant, this scribe, this national treasure has been writing classic stories for over 60 years now. People have been born, come of age, had children and passed of old age in that time and he is still writing ---and writing well. But you knew that already. Well, if you haven't read LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE, you might not be aware of the last point. So let me delay you for just another minute.
LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE continues in the tradition of Bradbury's previous mystery novels, DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS and A GRAVEYARD FOR LUNATICS. The setting is once again Venice, California in the early 1950s and the narrator is a young, unnamed screenwriter who is, in fact, Bradbury. Bradbury actually has the chutzpah to begin LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE with the phrase "It was a dark and stormy night..." and actually has the talent to successfully bring it off --- in spades. On this particular dark and stormy night the narrator hears a tapping at his door and discovers Constance Rattigan, an aged, once-beautiful film star, bearing two worn telephone books that contain the names of Hollywood personalities, most of whom have passed over to the other side of the curtain. There are a few who are living but are also marked for death --- and one of them is Constance. The screenwriter enlists the aid of private detective Elmo Crumley ... and together they attempt to trace the owners of the names that are marked for death. More often than not, however, they find that they are, rather than too late, too early. Bradbury uses their search as a vehicle for a tour of Los Angeles, not only in the geographical sense, but also in a nostalgic one. While he mourns the glamour of the past, Constance seeks to escape it. Along the way, the reader sees the glitter of the facades as well as the alleys that run behind them. They are, as Bradbury demonstrates, inexorably intertwined.
LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE is a mystery, yes, but Bradbury also injects element of satire, celebration and fantasy into the mix. He also, quite cleverly, references one of his best-known novels, though if you blink you'll miss it. Bradbury's ability to intersect mystery and fantasy --- and fantasy with reality --- remains as sharp and as engrossing as ever. LET'S ALL KILL CONSTANCE is not to be missed.
...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not typical Bradbury, January 25, 2005
By 
After reading (or rereading) several other Bradbury stories, I was looking forward to this one to see how his style has changed. I must say I am disappointed. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters; they were all too busy with their "witty" repartee to be sympathetic (or even interesting). The main character, obviously based on Bradbury himself, would cry at the deaths of other characters, but I felt nothing because Bradbury didn't paint them realistically or sympathetically. To top it off, the main character was really just a jerk, but I got the impression that the reader is supposed to like him. Characters with major character flaws can be interesting. This one was not; he was just a jerk, and for no apparent reason. The only part I liked was the description of how LA used to be, since I grew up in southern California.

I am surprised by the number of reviewers who described this as "typical Bradbury." Not in my experience. If this were typical of his other work, I couldn't recommend any of it. Luckily that's not the case. You would be better served by rereading some classic Bradbury than by spending any time on this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Hollywood Mystery Intrigues and Delights, January 27, 2005
By 
Bohdan Kot (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
Ray Bradbury, celebrated author of modern classics such as "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles," brings us "Let's All Kill Constance," a mystery running in 1960 set amidst the backdrop of a bygone Hollywood when Eric Von Stroheim held sway.

An unnamed writer, the narrator of the novel, begins the suspense with the cliché, "It was a dark and stormy night." Constance Rattigan, an aging former starlet, hastily gives the unnamed writer two books - a 1900 Los Angeles phone book and her old address book - both containing red-circled entries with crosses that suggest who will die next; Rattigan is one of the names circled.

Some of the names circled begin to die suddenly under suspect circumstances while Rattigan concurrently becomes difficult to find. Is she the next victim or the murderer? The unnamed writer becomes obsessed with procuring answers. Entertaining sidekicks like Crumley, a lovable grouch, and Henry, a blind man that invariably sees more than everyone, accompanies the unnamed writer's search within fast-paced engaging dialog.

Brief chapters - many five pages or less - and simple word usage are effective throughout the novel. The climax is unclear as many twists abound, a given in a Bradbury production - remember the fireman Guy Montag from "Fahrenheit 451" who starts fires? Bradbury dazzles and boggles the mind till the final pages.

Bohdan Kot
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, June 30, 2004
By 
It was a dark and stormy night, so starts "lets all kill Constance". An old Hollywood star shows up at the narrator's doorstep with a book claiming that it is a book of the dead and that every name on the list is eaither dead will be very shortly. Then the Hollywood star disappears into the storm. The narrarator enlists the help of an unwilling friend to find Constance and track down the names in the book.
This book is typical Bradbury with the metaphor and is fun to read. He just keeps getting better and better with time. Once again there is more to the eye than is apparent here. Bradbury takes the reader through the Hollywood he remembers with the stars of yesteryear and their over the top lifestyles, but he also shows that it is not all glamour and things do fade with time. Once again as with other of his later works, "Graveyard for Lunatics" the narrator is unnamed (you can guess who it is) and is told in a breathless first person. This is a homage to the 1940's film noir mysteries and is great fun. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, Confusing, Constance...., June 26, 2003
By 
Leon Schmitz (Alpharetta, GA area) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
I am a big fan of Ray Bradbury's work. He is a genious in literature. However, this book fell short of what I expected from him.
The book starts off excellant. There is a good build up and it is very quick and interesting. As the plot thickens (hehe) things tended to get a little bit confusing to me. Part of it is Bradbury's classic writing style mixed with a very odd plot. The other part is sheer madness. Everything comes back into focus for the end only to end on an off note, almost leaving you hanging.
Again, let me reiterate that this is not a bad novel at all, but as far as Ray Bradbury's work goes, it is on a lower level. If perhaps this was another author I would easily give it 4 stars, but I expected more out of a Bradbury novel.
If you are a die hard fan of Mr. Bradbury's work, check this one out, however if you are new to his work, start off with one of his well known classics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bradbury Style, March 24, 2006
By 
Archren (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
I sometimes think that Ray Bradbury is not, in fact, a multi-genre writer. That through his entire career, he has only written in one genre a genre to be named "Bradbury." I feel that way because no matter which genre he chooses to write in (are there any that he hasn't?) his inimitable style is always dominant.

In "Let's All Kill Constance," this style is applied to a murder mystery set in 1960 in Hollywood. An older actress named Constance receives an old phone book, many names are crossed out, even some of people who are still alive. Then she disappears and bodies turn up. The unnamed narrator (who is possibly Bradbury himself) must find out what's going on.

That's the simple part. The special Ray Bradbury touch is that while the overall plot structure is purely genre murder mystery, all the dialog and all the scene setting is pure Bradbury. The people all talk like they're slightly (or more than slightly) unhinged, and the scene descriptions are pure poetry (and as such, don't always make the most sense).

Now, here's a bit of heresy. I prefer Bradbury's work in the short form. I loved "Illustrated Man" and "The Martian Chronicles," but even at a brief 210 pages, I found it a bit wearing to read the dialog of all these crazy people. But that's just me. If you've ever been curious to see what Bradbury might do to a standard mystery to make it completely his own, you should read this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LET'S ALL RAISE A TOAST TO MR. BRADBURY, September 9, 2003
By 
Steven F. Gulvezan (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
This latest installment (DEATH IS A LONELY BUSINESS, A GRAVEYARD FOR LUNATICS) in the adventures of Ray's unnamed alter-ego hero is, like its predecessors, many things: a detective story, a phantasmagoria of the incredible characters that populate Ray's world, and, perhaps most of all, a love song to Los Angeles as only Ray can envision it - a place where the mundane and the utterly fantastic can walk arm-in-arm down the boulevard of Mr. Bradbury's unique imagination. He is one of a kind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Autobiographical in an eerie way, June 7, 2007
By 
Evan the Dweezil (A Place-Sort Of, Montana) - See all my reviews
If you've ever had the honor of hearing Mr. Bradbury speak in person, this book is like an extension of what he speaks about on stage. This story has a strange flavor to it, like he's speaking about himself while actually participating in his own story as a character, much like his short "The Pedestrian". I'd almost go so far as to say that this one is best read by the fans who know a lot about Ray Bradbury the person rather than by those who've only read his work. I very much enjoyed this glimpse into the mind of a genius of our time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intentional exaggerations, calculated caricatures, high camp, February 23, 2003
This review is from: Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel (Hardcover)
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."
--Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act 2, Sc. 7)
Ray Bradbury, one of the most celebrated fiction writers of our time, has published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays.
Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, and now lives in Los Angeles. He is best known for his novels, such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
The author's new novel virtually defies categorization. Set in 1960, in Venice, Calif., Let's All Kill Constance is a tongue-in-cheek Gothic tale, a noir mystery that balances kitsch and class. A murder mystery? Well, not exactly. It's more like an unmurder mystery.
In her time, Constance Rattigan played many parts. An aging film star, the five-foot-two femme fatale with a golden tan still possesses beauty that causes passersby to turn their heads for a second look.
A method actress, a woman with a thousand faces, Constance is a chameleon who changes her personality and appearance to adapt to various roles.
Trouble is, by assuming multiple personalities, Constance has lost her identity. No longer knowing who she is, she determines to kill the past--to destroy her multiple personae and rediscover her true self.
The narrator of this story is an unnamed science-fiction writer, at whose beachfront bungalow Constance Rattigan appears on a dark and stormy night, with lightning flashing and the waves crashing.
Constance brings a 1900 Los Angeles telephone directory, a "Book of the Dead" containing names of the dead and the soon-to-be-dead. Constance's name, along with several others, is marked with a red ink circle around it and a crucifix.
Convinced that Death has been chasing her down the seashore, Constance is terrified. She enlists the aid of our sci-fi writer-hero, who, with his wacky sidekicks--irascible Detective Elmo Crumley, Blind Henry, and Fritz Wong--uncover the secrets of a decadent Tinseltown.
In search of clues, our semi-fearless foursome sally forth boldly, being careful to heed the counsel of Satchel Paige, who said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
They ascend Mount Lowe, to the musty archives of an eccentric newspaper collector; press on to the Psychic Research Lodge of Queen Califia (astrologer, palmist, and phrenologist); visit St. Vibiana's Cathedral and Constance Rattigan's big white Arabian-fortress beach house; drive down Hollywood Boulevard to legendary Grauman's Chinese Restaurant, the most famous movie palace in the world; explore the spooky, ghost-haunted depths of L.A.'s catacombs, and tour the tombs at Glendale's Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Slowly but surely, a portrait of Constance Rattigan emerges: a vixen who sells herself--body and soul--in cutthroat competition with other actresses in order to win prize roles in films, and to steal their men.
"Why is it," says our narrator, "someone like Constance is a lightning bolt, performing seal, high-wire frolicker, wild laughing human, and at the same time she's the devil incarnate, an evil cheater at life's loaded deck?"
As I read Bradbury's ludicrous tale, I felt my thumb slowly turning downward. It suddenly dawned on me, however, that this book is a send-up. The book's opening lines should have alerted me to this fact: "It was a dark and stormy night. Is that one way to catch your reader?" Surely, somewhere the spirit of Charles Schulz must be smiling.
Liquor flows freely through these pages. Corks are popped at the drop of a hat. Our narrator muses: "Malt does more than Milton can, / to justify God's way towards Man. / And Freud spoils kids and spares the rod, / to justify Man's ways toward God."
Judged "seriously," Let's All Kill Constance is ludicrous. The point, however, is that Bradbury's work sparkles with fun and joie de vivre. His exaggerations are intentional. His caricatures are calculated.
Listening with ears attuned to Bradbury's wavelength, one hears the "Pow! Biff! Bam!" of high camp. Appreciating this crucial point is the key to understanding and enjoying Bradbury's latest offering.
Buy into what Bradbury is selling, and you will have a blast...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel
Let's All Kill Constance: A Novel by Ray Bradbury (Hardcover - December 24, 2002)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.