Friday, January 24, 2014

Death on the Aisle: Review

Death on the Aisle by Frances and Richard Lockridge takes Pam and Jerry North, along with Lieutenant Bill Weigand, Sergeant Mullins, Weigand's soon-to-be wife, Dorian into the world of play production.  One of Jerry's authors (at North Books) has authored a play and he and Pam stop in at the West 45th Street Theatre to see what a rehearsal is like.  While there, theatre angel and physician to various actors, Dr. Carney Bolton, is found dead in his seat.  He, too, had dropped in to see how his latest play was going....but someone made sure he would never see opening night.

A simple little ice pick to the neck was all it took--and suddenly there is more drama off-stage than on.  There are plenty of suspects--from the playwright who didn't like Bolton's interference with his work to the director who didn't like Bolton's interference with his favorite actress; from the producer who feared Bolton was preparing to withdraw his financial support to the young actress who may have been more personally involved with the dead man than she cares to admit.  Weigand has his hands full of suspects and as usual Pam North manages to point the way to the culprit without quite realizing what she's doing.  But it will take another death and two more attempted murders before the crime can be brought home to the appropriate suspect.

First off, let me just say that this was a fun little volume to read.  One of two Armed Forces Edition books that I own (the other is a Dorothy L. Sayers novel)--it is just a cute little thing.  It was in such delicate condition that I had to keep it in a plastic baggie when carrying it around with me and I had to be extraordinarily careful in turning the pages, but it was a delight (as a book-lover) to hold and read a book that may well have given enjoyment to our men overseas during World War II.

Second, Pam North is in rare form in this one and wanders around backstage muttering to herself about the murders.  This gets her in trouble, of course, but it is fun to watch her and listen to her.  Because, after all, "It's all right  to talk to yourself if what you say is interesting....And often, although probably I shouldn't think it, I'd rather talk to myself than other people." [Pam, p 212]  I did think it a bit odd that she didn't see as clearly as I did who the culprit must be, but that's okay--Bill knows and is ready to jump in and save Pam from the trap she manages to fall into.

There are plenty of clues and the alert reader should pick them up.  The fun is in the characters and watching the play between the Norths and their friends and between the theater folk as well.  A very delightful entry into the North series of books.  Four stars.

This fulfills the "Entertainment" square on the Golden Vintage Mystery Bingo card.


fredamans said...

I'm amazed at your description of how you keep your book. I can't say I have any that are that old or in need of that much care. Says a lot to me about how wonderful that book must be, to have been opened and closed so many times....
Fab review!

Bev Hankins said...

Freda: This one is actually in excellent condition (considering) --but the pages were so flexible that I didn't want to bend them too much and ruin what is (for its age) a really nice binding.