Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review: A Friendly Game of Murder by J. J. Murphy

Dorothy Parker hosts as New Year’s Eve Party in the famous Algonquin Hotel and for entertainment devices as Whodunit game, in which each guest draws a card to determine the murderer and detective. Sound like a fun time, until one starlet is found really, really dead and that was not part of the game. With Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among the hostel guests, Dorothy Parker and her sidekick Robert Benchley do not need to look any further than the hotel guests to solve the mystery, preferably before the real police shows up. 

And without police the guests will be for quite some time because the hotel is under quarantine and so the guests are stranded in the hotel like on a deserted island with a killer in their midst. The author allows us to enjoy the wit that Dorothy Parker was known for and gives us at the same time a snapshot of New York in the roaring twenties. The book is a quick read, in part because of the witty comments that are thrown in during dialogues and kept my laughing out loud while reading the book in one afternoon. 

Dorothy Parker, known for her witty remarks, is captured perfectly by the author in this fictitious book and adding a character such as Arthur Conan Doyle to the mix presents to the reader a wonderful experience of seeing these two characters interact while solving the crime at the Algonquin which survived to this day. Do you need to be familiar with Dorothy Parker to enjoy this book? No, certainly any reader enjoying wisecracks will be amused reading this book. But fans of Dorothy Parker will especially enjoy this creative adaption involving Ms. Parker. 

Overall, this a quick read, in part because the dialogue between characters is broken up by enough Dorothy Parker comments to make the reader chuckle along. I found this book to be a well researched period mystery, some romance thrown in, but overall the focus is clearly on the author trying to imagine how someone like Dorothy Parker would solve crimes in her day. I believe the author succeeded in doing this and generated an interesting mystery book at the same time.

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