Stage Fright

Reading Stage Fright by Alan Dunn (no relation to the Hitchcock film of the same name) I was reminded of a comment once made by the renowned film critic (also one of my favourite writers), Dilys Powell. After a long career in film criticism she was asked if she had seen many bad films. Much to the surprise of the interviewer her reply was that she had never seen a bad film. She then qualified her statement saying that even the worst film had some good points, some unusual tricks of technique, something to save it from being a completely bad film. Stage Fright is that sort of book.

It's a detective story, not a particularly good one, the characters are generally paper-thin, the plot is sometimes over-convoluted, and the sex scenes....well, let's just say that this is the kind of book that is worthy of being entered for the annual Literary Review Bad Sex Award. Having damned it, this novel does have its moments. The crime is well thought out, the motivation is good, and it's the sort of book that you can happily spend a few hours drifting through. If you're into murder in Shakespeare productions, this may be just the detective story for you, but, to be honest, it's not that wonderful, and I did find the sniping at other crime writers (Caroline Graham of Midsomer Murders fame) irritating - you've got to be really good to get away with that sort of thing, and Mr. Dunn isn't...


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