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book cover of The Noel Coward Murder Case

The Noel Coward Murder Case

(The sixth book in the Jacob Singer series)
A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
''Fame is so exhausting,'' laments this mystery's eponymous hero--but not as as enervating, unfortunately, as reading this latest offering from Baxt ( A Queer Kind of Death ). From the discovery of a corpse in a Shanghai river to a (surprisingly tame) conflagration in a New York City boite, the book's not-very-mysterious elements are rudimentarily handled. ''A murder has been committed and I intend to conduct a very thorough investigation,'' announces Det. Jacob Singer. Characters evidence little individuality, while dialogue and exposition alike are lined out with no trace of subtlety. Everything is told rather than shown (''Noel looked world-weary as usual'') and corny one-liners are plopped into scenes regardless of suitability. Moreover, Baxt should consider joining Namedroppers Anonymous: his scattershot celebrity mentions--in an apparent attempt to imbue his narrative with a behind-the-scenes period atmosphere--quickly prove tedious. The unkindest cut of all, however, is Baxt's depiction of Coward himself: this justly celebrated bon vivant, master of the witty riposte, is here reduced to a fatuous, insipid boor. Readers would be better entertained curling up with a cozy British whodunit while listening to a Coward recording.

BookList - Charles Harmon
The sixth in Baxt's series of celebrity murder mysteries is every bit as original and witty as its forerunners. In a Jessica Fletcher ("Murder, She Wrote") type of situation, Noel Coward helps New York police detective Jacob Singer (who's a riotous name-dropper) and detective Abraham Wang (on loan from the Shanghai Police) solve the murder in Shanghai of an American woman (who was, of course, working to crack a white slavery ring). This investigation leads, naturally, to another murder, this time in a New York nightclub (owned by three gangsters named Vivaldi, Beethoven, and Bizet) where the floor show encompasses voodoo dances, the onstage sacrifice of a live chicken, Noel Coward singing his original tunes, and scantily clad show girls. Toss in a couple of lines like "Jacob [the New York police detective] has a terribly suspicious nature. He thinks Mae West is a man in drag" and you've got a real winner. Although never a resident of the big best-seller lists, Baxt has a loyal and literate audience.

Genre: Mystery    

Used availability for George Baxt's The Noel Coward Murder Case

Hardback Editions

November 1992 : USA Hardback

Title: The Noel Coward Murder Case
Author(s): George Baxt
ISBN: 0-312-08272-X / 978-0-312-08272-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: St Martins Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA