Quick Curtain British Library Crime Classics by Alan Melville Poisoned Pen Press Pub Date 05 Dec 2017
Alan Melville did not spend much of his life writing mysteries, but those he did are clever and fun - albeit a not particularly accurate representation of police procedure. His books have an element of showmanship and his detectives, albeit earnest and determined are not geniuses. Melville’s subtle humor and dry wit is clear with each turned page. He leaves complex machinations to other authors. What you see is what you get - almost.
In Quick Curtain, the star of a dazzling music extravaganza is murdered onstage. Soon after, another member of the cast is found hanged, an apparent suicide. But is this simply a matter of a remorseful killer committing suicide? Or is there a more complex conspiracy behind the surprising murder? Inspector Wilson and his son Derek (a young journalist who readily joins the investigation) tackle the case, but will their solution be the right one?
Quick Curtain has many humorous scenes, but it is understated compared to more modern comic mysteries. Though it hasn’t stood the test of time quite as well as other mysteries from the Golden Age, Quick Curtain is not formulaic and definitely has surprises in store for readers.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Quick Curtain from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
'Don't talk bunk!' said Mr Douglas. 'You can't carry on with the show with a man dying on stage. Drop the curtain!' When Douglas B. Douglas—leading light of the London theatre—premieres his new musical extravaganza, Blue Music, he is sure the packed house will be dazzled by the performance. What he couldn't predict is the death of his star, Brandon Baker, on stage in the middle of Act 2. Soon another member of the cast is found dead, and it seems to be a straightforward case of murder followed by suicide. Inspector Wilson of Scotland Yard—who happens to be among the audience—soon discovers otherwise. Together with Derek, his journalist son, Wilson takes charge of proceedings in his own inimitable way. This is a witty, satirical novel from the golden age of British crime fiction between the world wars. It is long overdue for rediscovery and this new edition includes an informative introduction by Martin Edwards, author of The Golden Age of Murder.