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Death of a Hollow Man

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Death of a Hollow Man (1989) Caroline Graham

The Causton Amateur Dramatic Society is putting on Amadaeus, and its a seething pit of dramas and resentment.

He always tried to get home before his wife, not only because she hated finding the house empty but because he looked forward to hearing the continuing saga of theatrical folk that started almost the minute she came through the door.

There are lots of unlikable characters, but the least likable of the lot is Harold.

He had long been aware that if it had not been for his careless early marriage and the birth of three numbingly dull children—now, thankfully, boring themselves and their consorts to death miles away—, he would currently be one of the top directors in the country.

I was kinda hoping he would be the one to get killed.

Inspector Barnaby’s wife Joyce is involved with the group, and so Barnaby also gets to hear all the details, and when a crime occurs, is in place to start solving the mystery.

Couple of notes. This was written in 1986, and set in the theater, so there are gay men, but surprisingly, they aren’t horrible caricatures. In fact, I liked Avery very much.

Tim and Avery sat at a table, their heads close. They stopped talking the moment Nicholas entered, and Tim smiled. “Don’t worry,” he said. “We weren’t talking about you.”

“I didn’t expect you were.”

“Didn’t you really?” asked Avery, who always thought that everyone was talking about him the second his back was turned, and never very kindly. “I would have.”

Not that there isn’t blatant homophobia.

After showing in Tim and Avery, Troy pointedly moved his chair several feet away. Then he sat, legs protectively crossed, giving off waves of masochistic fervor, his breathing ostentatiously shallow. One might have thought the air to be thick with potentially effeminate spores, a careless gulp of which might transform him from a sand-kicker supreme to a giggling, girlish wreck.

But since the homophobic character is a jerk, it hardly qualifies.

I also liked Diedre, who is also a product of the times in how she is treated by the men with whom she deals.

She had been brought up to believe that you never spoke ill of the dead. As a child, she had assumed that this was because, given half a chance, the dead would come back and savage you. Later she modified this apprehension to include the understanding that (a) if you only said nice things about them, they might put in a good word for you when your turn came, and (b) it just wasn’t honorable to attack people who couldn’t answer back.

It’s an interesting mystery, and I wish the library had more than two books of the series.
Rating: 7/10

Publisher: Felony & Mayhem Press

Categories: British, Mystery, Police     Comments (0)    



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