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Hall brings off a winning comic mystery

  • Sep 3, 2000
Parnell Hall's 13th comic novel about Stanley Hastings proves lucky for the author but unlucky for the accident investigator with a family to support.

Hired by the wife of best-selling suspense novelist Kenneth P. Winnington to discover the identify of a crank caller, Hastings moves among the habitues of the publishing world, interviewing Winnington's agent, publicist, and two editors, one of whom rewrote his first book into a best-seller before being fired. But two interviews lead directly to two murders, and before long, Hastings manages to attract the attention of someone who wants him dead as well.

Like all of the other books, this is a fast-paced tale that gives Hall plenty of room to indulge in comic dialog that can at times sounds like he's channeling Abbott and Costello. But along the way, "Suspense" also picks up an entertaining subtext that takes Winnington's flat declaration that no author can write a suspense novel told from the hero's perspective. Hall takes up the challenge, and whips up a virtuoso performance. Hastings may object to his author's interference, especially when it leaves him in a situation in which there was no way out. Parnell Hall brings off this effect with panach; it's lucky that Hastings has Hall on his side.

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Bill Peschel ()
Ranked #482
Bill Peschel was born in 1960 in Ohio, and grew up there and in North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism. At The Avalon Hill Game Company … more
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About this book


Stanley Hastings, hero of Parnell Hall's novel,Suspense, is not one of those derring-do private eyes, such as Spenser or Mike Hammer--guys who will put their lives on the line for a client. Stanley prefers his cases as unchallenging as possible. So he's understandably reluctant when a bestselling author hires him to find out who's been making threatening phone calls to the writer's wife. Stanley's reluctance turns out to be prescient indeed when the case turns deadly and Stanley stumbles into the role of prime suspect. As if all this weren't bad enough, he's also up to his neck in the shark-infested waters of publishing. Hall has a way with comedy and, inSuspense, he does a fine job of biting the hand that feeds him, wickedly satirizing publicists, editors, agents, and authors even as his hapless hero combs the streets of Manhattan in search of a killer.
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ISBN-10: 0892966246
ISBN-13: 978-0892966240
Author: Parnell Hall
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Mysterious Pr
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