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ACTOR – “Take a Bow”

April 4, 2011

ACTOR

By Parnell Hall

Warner Books, 1993

294 pages

This is a fun read for reasons that at first may not be entirely evident. We have a ner-do-well writer/detective who is given a chance to be in a play by a former colleague. Twenty years ago they were both involved in the same production while in college. It seems one of the leads has died suddenly and they need someone to take over. So we get someone who is quite knowledgeable about the play, Shaw’s Arms and the Man, yet can give us an outsiders impression of the experience (probably matching that of most readers).

The play is intricate to the plot of the story (it is not incidental background); and Stanley Hastings fears, apprehension and conceits add a human “Oh shit, what am I doing,” element we can all relate to. It will keep you guessing to the last pages. The narrator feels obligated to solve the mystery, not so much because he is a detective, but because as a newcomer he has been accused of the crime.

Funny, serious, always entertaining. In a book with so many characters a reader often has trouble keeping track of their names. In this case we have a main character who also can’t remember names to help us. There are books you read that you wish you had written. This is one I would love to claim.

Order this directly from amazon for $2.99, click: Actor (The Stanley Hastings Mystery Novels)

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