A Decent Interval, Paperback Book

A Decent Interval Paperback

Part of the A Charles Paris Mystery series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


By popular demand: a welcome return for Simon Brett's actor detective Charles Paris, last seen in 1997's Dead Room Farce.

After a long period of 'resting', life is looking up for Charles Paris, who has been cast as the Ghost of Hamlet's Father and First Gravedigger in a new production of Hamlet.

But rehearsals are fraught. Ophelia is played by Katrina Selsey, who won the role through a television talent show.

Hamlet himself is also played by a reality TV contestant, Jared Root - and the two young stars have rather different views of celebrity and the theatre than the more experienced members of the cast.

But when the company reach the first staging post of their tour, the Grand Theatre Marlborough, matters get more serious, with one member of the company seriously injured in what appears to be an accident, and another dead.

Once again, Charles Paris is forced to don the mantle of amateur detective to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Simon Brett is the winner of The CWA Diamond Dagger 2014.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781780295398

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This book marked the return of Charles Paris after a break of several years during which Simon Brett concentrated on his Fethering series of novels (with alliterative titles such as "The Body on the Beach" and "Murder in the Museum"), Despite the passage of years, Charles Paris remains instantly recognisable as the down-at-heel and rather mediocre journeyman actor (and he hasn't really aged being still in his mid to late fifties) who is, to my mind, Brett's finest creation.In this outing Charles lands a part (well, two parts, actually) in a production of Hamlet which is scheduled for a tour of provincial theatres around England before a hopefully triumphant run in London's West End. Charles is gratified to have the roles of The Ghost and the First Gravedigger, and is looking forward to an enjoyable spell of work. The title role is, however, to be taken by Jared Root, recent winner of a reality TV singing competition (clearly modelled on the X Factor) while Ophelia is to be played by Katrina Selsy who had landed the part as her prize for winning a similar television competition.It soon becomes clear that Jared Root can't act at all, while Katrina Selsey has delusions of stardom way beyond her as yet untested talent. Just before the opening night in Marlborough, first stop on the provincial run of the production, part of the stage set falls down, seriously wounding Root. And then Katrina Selsey dies under strange circumstances. Charles decides to investigate.The Charles Paris novels are always amusing, filled with Brett's insight into the trials and tribulations of an actor's life (exacerbated by Charles's relentless drinking). This latest in the series is well up to standard, and proved most enjoyable.

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