So Much Blood – Simon Brett

This is the second Charles Paris story. I bought this together with the first a while back. As I said at the time I was drawn to these by the undeniable charisma of Bill Nighy in the radio adaptations.

It’s summer 1974 and Paris has taken his one-man show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival as a last minute replacement for part of an University Drama Society’s line-up. During rehearsal of one of the other plays an actor is fatally stabbed by what should have been a fake knife in a horrible accident. Or was it an accident.

I’m not sure what to say about this that I didn’t say about the last book. It definitely works as a ‘cozy’ mystery and Paris is a likeable protagonist/investigator. I felt at times that some of the other characters were only fleshed out enough to give them potential motives or a place in the plot. I also felt that the switch between Charles the actor and Charles the investigator was a bit blunt at times and you would have thought that more of his colleagues and associates would have said, “hang on why are you questioning me?” I guess that’s just a convention of the genre that once a character falls into that role we accept that they are able to quiz the other players to some extent. So an effective, if mechanical mystery structure.

The story certainly has enough twists to keep you guessing and enough of Charles, his wit and his love-life to amuse but I guess I did find it a little lacking. It is short though. At under 58,000 words even I read it in a day (~4 hours in fact). It did feel a little dated, the sexual politics more than anything, but not so much that I couldn’t relate.

With so much to read I don’t know if I’ll read any more Paris.

7/10 – a actor’s life that seems to be all about death.

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