Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Might As Well Die-J.J. Murphy

You Might As Well Die

J.J. Murphy

Obsidian, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235329

In Manhattan Vanity Fair columnist Dorothy Parker is a member of the Algonquin Hotel Round Table where the Vicious Circle hold discussions. Minor league illustrator Ernie MacGuffin asks Dorothy about suicide as the witty columnist has tried the inane exit strategy once before. He gives her his suicide note but she refuses to accept it.

Prohibition remains in full swing, but Dorthy buys drinks at Tony Soma’s speakeasy. Soma’s wife demands Parker and her best friend Robert Benchley pay their alcohol tab. When she goes to get some money, Dorothy finds the suicide note in her bag. Ernie writes he will leap from the Brooklyn Bridge. Parker and Benchley grab a cab. At the Brooklyn Bridg they see a painting and a neatly placed pair of shoes. NYPD Detective O’Rannigan investigates the apparent suicide though no body has been found. Harold Ross offers them a $500 fee to write an article on MacGuffin for his new magazine the New Yorker. As they investigate McGuffin’s life, they meet his very tall wife Midge, his mistress turned clairvoyant Vida Sweet, and his agent Abraham Snath as the deceased’s art work jumps exponentially in value while Dorothy thinks something is not quite right.

'The latest Algonquin Round Table Mystery (see Murder Your Darlings) is a charming 1920s period piece. Obviously Parker and Benchley are the prime players; the story line brings to life the members of the Round Table although my favorite character for personal reasons is outsider Midge. With a strong sense of time and place, fans will enjoy this engaging Americana as the superb twisting investigation enhances a feeling of being a part of the Round Table.

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

J.J. Murphy said...

Glad you liked it, Midge -- uh, I mean Harriet!