Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review - J.J. Murphy's Murder Your Darlings

Murder Your Darlings: Algonquin Round Table Mystery by J.J. Murphy
Published by: Signet
Publication Date: January 4th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy
"In all reverence I say Heaven bless the Who-dunit, the soothing balm on the wound, the cooling hand on the brow, the opiate of the people." - Dorthy Parker

Dorthy Parker may be at the center of a vicious circle of writers in New York, in fact, THE Vicious Circle... that still doesn't mean that any of them are responsible for the appearance of a corpse under their celebrated round table at the Algonquin. But, as any good writer knows, that doesn't eliminate them from the suspect pool. The fact that the corpse is a reviewer that one or more of them has wished dead doesn't help matters. Once the press gets a hold of the story and starts to sensationalize the scenario, things are libel to get out of hand. Dorthy and her fellow writer, Robert Benchley, decide to solve the case on their own without the cops, who seem to be questioning all the wrong people. Not to mention the cops seem obsessed with the young wannabe writer Billy Faulkner, who Dorothy just knows couldn't have done it. She must make sure that Billy is safe and not prime suspect number one! With her dog's lead in one hand, a cup of tea filled with anything but in the other, and a heart longing for the married Benchley, Dorothy will solve this crime if she has to go to every illegal gin joint, speakeasy and bad play that stands in her way.

The unwieldy cast coupled with the plethora of puns does take awhile to adjust to. But once you grasp who everyone is and what they're notorious for, the story fully captures you. I wouldn't say that it's one of those books you just start and plow through cover to cover, with it's wonderfully short chapters and it's witty dialogue, it's a book you can pick up and set down like a nice snack. You get a little bit of refreshment and go on with your day, mulling over the wonderful little world you've been reading about. It's a nice leisurely stroll to the conclusion, which, when reached, makes you wish that you had a few more hours to bask in the time period. I was left with a happy glow that I still look back on fondly and look forward to having again when the next book comes out. Perhaps this time a who's who and maybe a map would improve the reading experience. Or little bios of everyone... because this wonderful world is made that much more interesting when you know the history. Thanks Wikipedia!


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