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Drop Dead, My Lovely Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In his satiric first novel, humorist Weiner (The Joy of Worry) pokes fun at the private eye genre with mixed results. When Pete Ingalls comes to after being knocked unconscious by a pile of books in a Manhattan bookstore, he remembers only the hard-boiled detective novels he's read. He rents an office, dresses in 1940s-style clothing and hires small-time actress Stephanie Constantino to be his secretary. Mysterious, elusive Celeste Vroman asks him to find her missing married lover, attorney Jeffrey Litman. A second client, Catherine Flonger, wants Ingalls to discover if her husband, a famous TV news anchor, is seeing another woman. Blundering, naïve and inept, Ingalls nonetheless easily locates Litman, who confesses he's spurned Celeste for "class skirt" Olivia Cartwright, whose strangled body turns up in a seedy hotel room in the "prologue" that falls between chapters one and two. Mrs. Flonger makes finding her husband almost too easy. Breezy, often funny, this uneven book is rife with silly puns. When Stephanie tells Ingalls she's playing Viola in Twelfth Night, he quips, "Playing the fiddle while you're acting?" But there's some good writing, too: one character "had the pale, smooth skin of a man who went outside principally to hail cabs." Weiner clearly owes a debt to P.G. Wodehouse (a passage from The Code of the Woosters serves as an epigraph), but here he lacks the British master's sure comic touch.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Ellis Weiner was an editor of National Lampoon and a columnist for Spy. He has written humor pieces for The New Yorker, Paris Review, New York Times Magazine, Air & Space, and Modern Humorist. He is the author of The Joy of Worry (illustrated by Roz Chast), Decade of the Year, Letters From Cicely, and The Northern Exposure Cookbook, and is the co-author with Sydney Biddle Barrows of Mayflower Manners.
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Top customer reviews
For anyone who loathes the contemporary cultural climate and longs for the days of Humphrey Bogart, "Drop Dead, My Lovely" is heaven-sent humor.
He has two customers who come in for help. One has a missing boyfriend and the other thinks her husband is having an affair. Using 1940s private eye lingo and dressing the part so well people think he's wearing a costume, Peter manages to screw up both cases. He decides that both the women seeking help are actually lesbians who are having an affair with each other. Meanwhile, an actual murder and disappearance take place that are connected to his two cases. If it weren't for his foul-mouthed assistant, he'd never get to first base on either of his cases because, in real life, Peter is a naïve mama's boy who lived at home until his accident. Peter's bumbling manages to cause all kinds of problems. His inept behavior, naïve reaction to bad situations and brawls with his assistant cause laugh-out-loud reactions. Peter does manage to dig deep within himself and rise to the occasion and solve the mysteries.
In DROP DEAD, MY LOVELY, Ellis Weiner has created a charming character that you want to give advice to and help along. You actually find yourself yelling at Pete when he's getting ready to do something really dumb and telling him to lose the fedora and the double-breasted suit. His sassy assistant, Stephanie, adds a wonderful dimension to the insanity of the private detective's office and his clients aren't too sane either. It's a book that drags you into the action while entertaining you.
Reviewed by alice Holman
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
See, Pete thinks he's a hardboiled PI in the very classic sense. And the two dames in distress that come calling seem to need him. One is looking for a missing lover. The other wants proof that her husband is having an affair. And while Pete has no clue what he's doing, his secretary, fortunately, does. But will it be enough to get them both through this in one piece?
I'm not familiar with the classic hardboiled detectives of the past, but the little I do know makes it obvious they were the inspiration for this hilarious tale. It's rather obvious to us early on that Pete has amnesia and is delusional. We keep getting clues about his past that put the pieces into place. The mystery plot of the story is also done extremely well. There were several nice twists up until the very end, when everything was wrapped up nice and neat. And the humor! I was laughing out loud the entire way through the book at the confusion of the other characters to Pete, his own confusion over literal interpretations, and his hilarious commentary on life. It was right up my sense of humor.
So why the four stars? This book had foul language that I'm not used to running into in a book. Lots and lots of it. It seemed to get better as the book went along, which I appreciated. There were also several cases of sexual innuendo I didn't care for and a sex scene that I skipped over but still could have done without. I'm well aware this will not bother most people out there, but it bothered me and lowered my enjoyment of the book. Since I'm the one rating it, I took that into account.
Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to give the sequel a chance. Here's hoping that it's as funny as this one was.