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text 2018-05-01 11:26
Homage to the Golden Age
Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery - Fred Van Lente

Fred Van Lente’s brilliant debut is both a savagely funny homage to the Golden Age of Mystery and a thoroughly contemporary show-business satire.

As the story opens, nine comedians of various acclaim are summoned to the island retreat of legendary Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker. The group includes a former late-night TV host, a washed-up improv instructor, a ridiculously wealthy “blue collar” comic, and a past-her-prime Vegas icon. All nine arrive via boat to find that every building on the island is completely deserted. Marooned without cell phone service or wifi signals, they soon find themselves being murdered one by one. But who is doing the killing, and why? 

A darkly clever take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and other classics of the genre, Ten Dead Comedians is a marvel of literary ventriloquism, with hilarious comic monologues in the voice of every suspect. It’s also an ingeniously plotted puzzler with a twist you’ll never see coming!




Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder Mystery



When I saw this book, I just had to get it! I'm hoping to read sometime this week. Anyone else read yet or planning to read?

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review 2016-02-07 17:54
The Comedians by Graham Greene
The Comedians - Graham Greene,Paul Theroux


Baron Samedi faces off stick twitching Tontons Macoute. Photo by Charles Carrié

Read by Tim Piggot Smith

Description: Three men meet on a ship bound for Haiti, a world in the grip of the corrupt “Papa Doc” and the Tontons Macoute, his sinister secret police. Brown the hotelier, Smith the innocent American, and Jones the confidence man—these are the “comedians” of Greene’s title. Hiding behind their actors’ masks, they hesitate on the edge of life. They are men afraid of love, afraid of pain, afraid of fear itself...

Three men walk onto a ship - a Mr Brown, a Mr Smith, and a Mr Jones - this could be mistaken for a maritime Reservoir Dogs, yet a don't think Tarantino's gangsters could match up to the Tontons Macoute and rats as big as terriers. According to wiki, the Hotel Trianon setting in the book is based on Hotel Olaffson in Central Port au Prince:

In his Ways of Escape, Greene wrote that the book "touched him [Duvalier] on the raw." Duvalier attacked The Comedians in the press. His Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a brochure entitled, "Graham Greene Demasqué" (Finally Exposed). It described Greene as "A liar, a cretin, a stool-pigeon... unbalanced, sadistic, perverted... a perfect ignoramus... lying to his heart's content... the shame of proud and noble England... a spy... a drug addict... a torturer." ("The last epithet has always a little puzzled me," Greene confessed.) Source

There is a film I need to track down: Greene himself wrote the screenplay of his novel, and it stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guiness and Peter Usinov.

2* The Man Within (1929)
3* A Gun for Sale (1936)
4* Brighton Rock (1938)
TR The Confidential Agent (1939)
3* The Power and the Glory (1940)
4* The Ministry of Fear (1943)
2* The Heart of the Matter (1948)
3* The Third Man (1948)
4* The End of the Affair (1951)
TR Complete Short Stories (1954)
3* The Quiet American (1955)
3* Our Man in Havana (1958)
4* A Burnt Out Case (1960)
5* The Comedians (1965)
4* Travels With My Aunt (1969)
3* The Honorary Consul (1973)
4* The Human Factor (1978)
4* Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party (1980)
4* Monsignor Quixote (1982)
3* The Captain and the Enemy (1988)
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review 2014-12-13 16:46
The Romantic Comedians by Ellen Glasgow
The Romantic Comedians - Ellen Glasgow
bookshelves: published-1926, women, north-americas, under-20, spring-2013, winter-20142015
Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Judy Bainbridge
Read from February 07, 2013 to December 13, 2014


Description: Long before Deborah Tannen began exploring linguistic differences between male and female communication styles, Ellen Glasgow depicted the problem in The Romantic Comedians. Playing on ideas about gender and power through sexual alignments, the novel offers rare feminist insight into relations between the sexes in southern society during the twenties. It is one of the few American comedies of manners written by a woman. In The Romantic Comedians Glasgow takes the familiar story of the cuckold and raises it to a new level. Her sixty-five-year-old male protagonist, the recently widowed Judge Gamaliel Honeywell, falls in love with and marries an impulsive twenty-three-year-old woman, emblem of the 1920s. As the symbol of patriarchy, the Judge espouses all of the chivalrous myths about women, insisting that older women are not interested in love, that a man is only as old as his instincts, and that some young women prefer old lovers to young ones. His sheltered mind allows these delusions about women as it allows him to delude himself.

Afterword by Dorothy M Scura

Preface: This tragicomedy of a happiness-hunter was written, as an experiment, for my own entertainment. E.G.

Opening: For thirty-six years Judge Gamaliel Bland Honeywell had endured the double-edged bliss of a perfect marriage; but it seemed to him, on this sparkling Easter Sunday, that he had lived those years with a stranger.

So long since I read the first fifty odd pages that this is now a complete reboot from page 1.

Honeywell is at heart, of Victorian mind and principles; some of his ideas on ladies and life will make many a modern woman want to shake a stick at him. Glasgow's brand of stick shaking is more nuanced, and rendered delightful with wry observations, so they become subtle satiric prods.

Page 50: '"A flower shop? Of course you shall have it. You should have anything that is in my power to give you."

Verdict: how is it that the woman who can write about raw issues and believable human spontaneous direction as on show in 'Barren Ground' feels the need to froth forward on such social minutiae as is on show here in 'The Romantic Comedians'? It seems that women's issues was very much her specific interest.

Froth this is but the language is delectable.

4* Barren Ground
3* The Sheltered Life
3* The Romantic Comedians
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review 2014-10-09 18:00
The Comedians
The Comedians - Graham Greene,Paul Theroux

" ‘Any news of the Baron?’ It was the name some gave to the President as an alternative to Papa Doc – we dignified his shambling shabby figure with the title of Baron Samedi, who in the Voodoo mythology haunts the cemeteries in his top-hat and tails, smoking his big cigar. ‘They say he hasn’t been seen for three months. He doesn’t even come to a window of the palace to watch the band. He might be dead for all anyone knows. If he can die without a silver bullet."


So far, The Comedians is my favourite Greene novel and probably the one proving most difficult to review.


The story of Smith, Jones, and Brown - which incidentally starts like a joke - strikes a perfect balance between comedy created by what seems to be light-hearted ignorance and the tragedy that arises out of the other, darker side of the story which is revealed only through one of the three, the main character, Brown.


Knowing a little about the historical background to the story's setting - Haiti during the rule of Papa Doc Duvalier - helps, but even without this information, Greene strikes a perfect balance between the desperate and the comical. The references to voodoo and the haunting figure of Papa Doc just emphasize that bleak irony that shines throughout the story.


"Now that I approached the end of life it was only my sense of humour that enabled me sometimes to believe in Him. Life was a comedy, not the tragedy for which I had been prepared, and it seemed to me that we were all, on this boat with a Greek name (why should a Dutch line name its boats in Greek?), driven by an authoritative practical joker towards the extreme point of comedy. How often, in the crowd on Shaftesbury Avenue or Broadway, after the theatres closed, have I heard the phrase – ‘I laughed till the tears came.’ "


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text 2014-08-12 14:05
Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Source: ricktownley.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-1951-2014
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