Books: Acting Up

A COMEDIAN DIES by Simon Brett Scribners; 160 pages; $7.95

There have been lawyer-detectives and priest-detectives and even jockey-detectives, but perhaps the most intriguing blend of workaday occupation and avocational sleuthing is Charles Paris, an invention of English Writer Simon Brett. Charles is an actor-detective, perhaps the first and last of his breed. Performers are generally too self-absorbed to be much use in searching other people's motives.

It may be that Charles is so hooked on ratiocination because he is so bad at acting. On the funny side of 50, Charles is the kind of...

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