26 January 2012

Just finished reading...

You Might as Well Die by J.J. Murphy (Algonquin Round Table Mystery #2).

If you've ever wished to be a fly on the wall at a meeting of the legendary Algonquin Round Table, your wish has been granted by J.J. Murphy. Murphy wished the same thing, and ended up creating the Round Table mystery series, in which Dorothy Parker and her cohorts play detective in scenarios that just might have been possible.
In this installment, Round Table member Ernie MacGuffin, a struggling illustrator, slips Dorothy an envelope, instructing her not to open it until midnight. When she finally does, she discovers that it holds a suicide note, and that she can't do anything about it because he has already jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.

All of a sudden, Ernie's mediocre illustrations jump in price, and Dorothy's best friend Robert Benchley is hired to write a profile of him for a new literary magazine called The New Yorker, and self-professed clairvoyant Viola Sweet is holding a séance to speak to MacGuffin's spirit. Smelling a rat, Dorothy enlists her new acquaintance Harry Houdini to accompany her to the séance, hoping to justify her uneasy feeling about Ernie's death.

It's a delightful ride, and makes the reader feel very much like Owen Wilson's character in Midnight in Paris.

Mystery aficionados will recognize "MacGuffin" as a plot device, defined by Merriam-Webster online as "an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance", and will draw their own conclusions about the use of the name.

At the end of the volume is an excerpt from the next book in the series, A Friendly Game of Murder, though no release date is provided.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review, Marlyn! Now, does the character of Ernie MacGuffin have "intrinsic importance"? Well, you'll just have to read it and find out!


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