On- and off-stage, they are inseparable, until a mysterious death casts a shadow upon their friendship. When the pair parts ways, the journalist finds herself caught between them, knowing more about them than they realize, and less than she would like, but increasingly fearful of knowing too much. As the punning title suggests, getting at the truth could lead her into a funhouse of lying mirrors.
©2003 Rupert Holmes; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Hugely entertaining....A glittering ride." (Publishers Weekly)
"Literate, witty, and atmospheric." (Booklist)
Thanks for the above review or I never would have known about this great book. It was witty, fun, evocative, suspenseful and even touching at times. Great writing, superb narration. I loved re-living bits of 70s culture through the author's wry descriptions. I laughed out loud many times. Highly recommended. Some adult content.
...but still a stunning read! This book took a little time to get going, and I almost quit a few times but once you're hooked it's great. I'm not exactly sure why the story was set in the 80's (or late 70"s? not certain) and the technology and current events are a little dated, along with the flashbacks to 50's humor, but it doesn't matter one bit. Perhaps certain plot twists depend on the story happening pre-internet and pre-cellphones, but anyway I thoroughly enjoyed this rich and detailed narrative. The author does an admirable job of impersonating a woman and totally pulls it off, complete with the late 70's pre STDs pre-feminist perspective. Part trendoid commentary, part whodunit, part comedy...I loved every minute!
If you love Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis you will love this. But without the suggestion that the pseudonyms in the book are really D&J it would be hard to stay with it.
For one thing the sex scenes which border on soft porn are not in keeping with the narrative as if an editor thought they should be in there for selling points. It gave the narrator an unnecessary sluttish quality that was inconsistent with the femininity of the character as well as the tone of the woman who was reading the text. Do women really talk, let alone write with crude sexual candidacy like men in a sport bar after a few beers? My wife says no way. Also the scenes at Disney land are redundant.
On the other hand the sense of location, biographical details (if they are not fictionalized) and the characters of Dean and Jerry are all very real. That much is good writing and it is all excellently read.
Yes, I know the author does not call them Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, but what listener who lived through their era, beginning ca. 1948, will not identify the characters. No giving away plots of mysteries, which this does turn into somewhere along the line, but that identification bothered me from the time the author moved from comic characterizations (which are funny) to THE MYSTERY. By that time he had done too good a job on the lives of M&L for me to enter into the spirit of the mystery. I cannot predict how other, younger readers will react but simply put up the flag for those to whom that might matter. Other than that, the reader is out of the top drawer,making each character live. The author knows where the holes in the plot, as a mystery, are and plugs them as best he can in the long Thin Man, Charlie Chan mystery solvers explanation. The book is well written for reading. As for the heroine, until the last segment, I did not find her particularly appealing, but the reasons for that feeling are dealt with by the author, so that you can take her or leave her.
The book is overlong for a mystery but of suitable length for a non-mystery novel.
In summary, very mixed feelings because the author does a good job in making one see the characters as he wants you to see them; some will like what they see, some will be put off by the verisimilude of the comedy act partners, some will find the lead character to be what she says she is, and not like that, others will.
This is a book that is hard to stop listening to, and I was totally absorbed. Its an easy enjoyable listen. However I didn't find the characters at all believable and I found their unrealistic mood changes and pretenses irritating, especially by the end of the book. Like sequences in soap operas where all is explained by the main character waking up from a season long dream, some of the plot twists required personality transplants on the part of the protagonists. Keep your expectations for good writing low, and you'll enjoy listening to this book.
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