George Sanders, star of the silver screen is bored of playing the same old roles – namely a charmer/cad of various shades of grey. Most notably, he is known for his heroic roles as The Falcon and The Saint, but he is in need of a change; hence he takes the lead role in a western.
Needless to say, it’s not long before a body is found, an extra shot dead in a gunfight scene and an attempt is made to frame George. Obviously this wouldn’t be a problem for The Falcon or The Saint. Unfortunately George is neither of these people – but it’s not clear if he, or the killer, is completely aware of that fact…
It’s a little bit of a shame that, despite George Sanders’ impressive resume, I think that, before reading this book, I knew him from exactly one role – this one.
Yup, Mr Freeze in the original Batman series. How the mighty had fallen… Coincidentally, directly after reading this book, I came across him in The Ghost And Mrs Muir (playing a cad) but that’s hardly a defining role either. So I’m not aware of the persona that George is channelling in this book. Not that he wrote it by himself – it’s written at least in part by Craig Rice, and the suspicion is that it’s mostly Rice’s work.
It’s an entertaining read – George is a charming voice, especially with the idea that he’s convinced himself that his film experience of solving crimes will help him solve a real one. Red herrings abound and, provided you take it with the sense of humour that it’s written with, then it’s an entertaining read. There’s probably a little more here for people who are familiar with Sanders’ work, but that’s a bonus rather than something necessary for enjoyment.
It’s a clued mystery, although the clues do come a little late (unless I missed something). It’s a satisfying little puzzle and well worth a look. Recommended.
Many thanks to Dean Street Press for providing me with this review copy. There’ll be more from them soon – including the other novel “written” by Sanders – once my backlog of reviews clears up.