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Friday, February 1, 2013

A Friendly Game Of Murder by J.J. Murphy

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

It is New Year's Eve in 1920s New York City and Dorothy Parker is hoping for an improper end of the year kiss in the Algonquin Hotel. Unfortunately, a guest doctor has just diagnosed a case of smallpox that forces a quarantine over the entire hotel, trapping the guests in for the holiday. So, when the immensely irritating New York Times drama critic, Alexander Woolcott, suggests that they play a game of Murder, it's a proposal that normally Dorothy would run from leaving a trail of dust in her wake. But sheer boredom and the fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle just happens to be another guest gives her second thoughts.

Image source: Penguin

To keep the spirit of the holiday going, Douglas Fairbanks and his wife, Mary Pickford, host a party in the penthouse and invite the entire hotel, which, unfortunately for most, happens to include ingénue Broadway actress Bibi Bibelot. She makes her presence unforgettable with a naked champagne bath and manages to annoy a good percentage of the other guests. So, when the poor woman is discovered murdered in an all-too-real game of murder and the police are unable to enter the hotel due to the quarantine, Dorothy enlists the most famous author of their times in her investigation and if she manages to bring down the arrogant Woolcott, all the better.

Murphy takes on the daunting task in this series at recreating the renowned dialogue and Bon mots of the eminently quotable Dorothy Parker and her fellow members of the Algonquin Table. While Murphy takes some liberties with Dorothy's attraction to the married writer Robert Bentley, the adventures and humor of the characters will have readers believing that they are living amongst the famous icons of 1920s New York City. The byplay between Dorothy and Bentley and a set-up that essentially consists of a locked-room mystery combined with a French farce of missed connections, nuns, and a confused attempt at mastering the switchboard, make for an incredibly engaging read that will have readers wishing that they were as quick-witted and sharp-tongued as Dorothy and her friends. Full of vivid details that mix the fictional with historical facts, this third Algonquin Table Mystery continues to delight, educate, and entertain fans of historical mysteries.

To enter to win a copy of A Friendly Game Of Murder, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Game”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 9, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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