Crime & Mystery
Although a trip to Corfu is not Mrs Pargeter's usual idea of a holiday, keeping a recently widowed friend company overrules her misgivings. But when that friend starts behaving strangely and is then found having apparently committed suicide, Mrs Pargeter resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Ranging from stark psychological suspense to frothy frolic, this stunning collection of twelve short stories demonstrates Simon Brett's astonishing versatility. In TICKLED TO DEATH, a lover of practical jokes is smothered to death in a custard pie. DOUBLE GLAZING reveals the patient and perverse logic of an elderly Do-It-Yourselfer. And in BIG BOY, LITTLE BOY, a former hotel porter plots the murder of a very rich wife - with shocking results.
In this collection of ten short stories, each with a surprising twist, Simon Brett covers all seven of the deadly sins, with supremely entertaining results. In THE MAN WHO GOT THE DIRT, two Angry Young Men have become Angry Old Men - and one of them is angry enough to kill. In POLITICAL CORRECTIONS, a recently-discovered manuscript by a classic English crime writer falls foul of modern political correctness. But is it genuine?
Things are going suspiciously well for Charles Paris. He has moved back in with his ex-wife and landed a proper part in a proper production: Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night. But when two members of the theatre company suddenly fall ill, Charles finds himself in trouble again - both on and off stage.
A three-month run in a new farce, Not On Your Wife, is not to be sniffed at by jobbing actor Charles Paris. But by the time the troupe reaches Bath, a dark mood has set in, and Charles's old friend Mark has a drink problem that amounts to a death wish. But it's not the drink that kills Mark; it's somebody in the cast who has a dirty secret to hide.
By popular demand: a welcome return for Simon Brett's actor detective Charles Paris, last seen in 1997's Dead Room Farce. After a long period of 'resting', life is looking up for Charles Paris, who has been cast as the Ghost of Hamlet's Father and First Gravedigger in a new production of Hamlet. But rehearsals are fraught. Ophelia is played by Katrina Selsey, who won the role through a television talent show. Hamlet himself is also played by a reality TV contestant, Jared Root - and the two young stars have rather different views of celebrity and the theatre than the more experienced members of the cast. But when the company reach the first staging post of their tour, the Grand Theatre Marlborough, matters get more serious, with one member of the company seriously injured in what appears to be an accident, and another dead. Once again, Charles Paris is forced to don the mantle of amateur detective to get to the bottom of the mystery.
A Charles Paris mystery
Playing the corpse in a murder mystery at the Regent Theatre is not exactly a triumph for Charles Paris. In fact, his career could not sink any lower. However, suddenly the mystery spills over into real life with the artistic director's apparent suicide. But was it suicide - or murder? Charles Paris determines to find out.
A Charles Paris mystery
As understudy to the lead in a West End play, Charles Paris's thespian and detective skills are called upon once again when the lead is shot dead on stage on the opening night. The suspects range from a jealous wife to a bitter actor who lost his part, from the playwright who heard his beautiful lines twisted to the director who saw his work ruined.
A Charles Paris mystery
West End TV are planning a new sit-com series called The Strutters and Charles Paris has landed the role of a golf club barman. But when, one by one, members of the production crew start falling victim to mysterious 'accidents', Paris finds himself on the trail of a mass murderer.
Hired by another widow, Veronica Chastaigne, to return all the art treasures that her late husband accumulated in a long career of larceny, Mrs Pargeter is forced to find out more than she would wish about the deceased Mr P's "business activities" as she recreates one of his most famous scams.
Construction on Mrs Pargeter's new country home comes to an abrupt halt when a corpse is discovered in the wine cellar. The accused is Concrete Jacket, the builder and great friend of Mrs P's late, lamented husband. Mrs P is not about to let prison come between her and her dream home. Concrete may be a scoundrel but he's no killer. Someone has set him up - but who? Mrs Pargeter determines to find out.
Murder at the BBC? It's almost unimaginable. But when Andrea Gower, the beautiful studio manager, is found murdered, actor/detective Charles Paris, having originally come to Broadcasting House to give a talk, finds himself wallowing through layers of BBC scandal to uncover a complicated fraud - with clues concealed in seemingly innocent announcements. What he is about to discover will very nearly lead to the end of Mr Paris.
About to receive an award as Most Promising Newcomer, a rising young stage comedian sensationally drops dead on stage at the start of his act: as he picks up the mike, he is electrocuted. Faulty wiring seems to be the cause and a verdict of death by misadventure is returned at the inquest. But actor/detective Charles Paris was in the audience that night and when another member of the cast reveals that the comedian checked his equipment just before the performance, Charles decides to investigate further. Misadventure - or murder?
The genteel game of Real Tennis takes a murderous twist in Simon Brett's witty and entertaining new Fethering mystery.
Jude's life has been turned upside-down thanks her new man, Piers Targett, who's keen to get her involved in his hobby - or obsession - of Real Tennis. But when one of Piers' friends dies on the court in suspicious circumstances, Jude finds herself caught up in the police investigation. Meanwhile, Jude's neighbour Carole is trying to identify the human remains known locally as the 'Lady in the Lake.' As the two investigations become intertwined, Carole and Jude's efforts to find the truth look set to lead to more murders.
Joining the cast of a musical loosely based on She Stoops to Conquer, actor/detective Charles Paris is soon regretting his decision, irked as he is by the odious theatre and television star who is backing, producing and starring in the show. But when rehearsals are hampered by a strange series of mishaps, including the rehearsal pianist being shot in the hand and an actor falling and breaking his leg, Paris investigates and quickly decides that the star himself is responsible. But why would he want to sabotage his own show? The answer is much more human than it first appears.
While she has never felt the need to change her figure, Mrs Pargeter is happy enough to accompany her friend Kim to a health farm. Until, in the night, she sees a body being wheeled out. What Mrs Pargeter doesn't realise is that this suspicious death will set her on a trail of detection which will bring her into direct conflict with her late husband's business associates.
'Dear Old Shakespeare!' Charles Paris can hardly wait. He's already endured the amateur theatre company's production of 'Dear Old Chekhov'. God only knows what this self-centred group will do to the Bard. But before Charles can escape to the nearest bar, the company's young and beautiful leading lady turns up dead, Charles's friend Hugo is charged with the crime, and Charles's interest is very much revived.
Appearing in his own one-man show on Thomas Hood at the Edinburgh Festival, middle-aged actor Charles Paris finds himself falling for a gorgeous young girl with navy-blue eyes. He also finds himself being dragged into a complex murder investigation involving the death of a fading pop star, a bomb scare in Holyrood Palace and a suicide leap from the top of the Rock.
The Devereux is a nice residential hotel which caters for a nice class of guest. But the arrival of Mrs Pargeter, an attractive widow, seems to act as a catalyst of disaster for everyone connected with the hotel. On the morning after her arrival, the corpse of one of the frailer residents is found at the foot of the main staircase, and shortly after that another death shakes the gentility of the hotel. Deciding to investigate herself, Mrs Pargeter discovers that more than one person in the Devereux has a motive for murder.
The prosperous housing estate of Smithy's Loam should be the epitome of middle-class respectability, but Mrs Pargeter decides that there's something just a little bit odd about her new neighbours. When the central heating breaks down, she decides to contact the former occupants, the Cottons, for advice. But the address to which they should have moved doesn't exist and Mr Cotton's employers seem to have no trace of him. Then Mrs Pargeter finds an unposted letter addressed to the Church of Utter Simplicity - and begins to wonder, where are the Cottons?
Who killed Marcus Steen, the theatrical tycoon with a fortune to leave to his young mistress Jacqui? And who killed Bill Sweet, the shady blackmailer with a supply of compromising photographs? Charles Paris, a middle-aged actor addicted to booze and women, decides to investigate by assuming a variety of roles, among them that of the mythical Detective Sergeant McWhirter. But, as Paris is about to discover only too painfully, impersonating a police officer is never a good idea.
Invited to a Private View of the work of controversial artist Denzil Willoughby, the good citizens of Fethering are not quite sure what to expect. And it turns out to be a lively affair, culminating in several embarrassing confrontations. But what no one could have anticipated was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death. The police seem happy to accept that it was suicide, but Fethering residents Carole and Jude remain unconvinced . . .