Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Murder at the Academy Awards by Joan Rivers with Jerrilyn Farmer

Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Yvonne Selander

Main Character: Maxine Taylor (basically a younger Joan Rivers)

Setting: Hollywood

Point of view: First person

Taste of the Plot: Halsey Hamilton is the second youngest starlet ever nominated for Best Actress.  She is also a train wreck.  She’s been in rehab for the past three months and wasn’t supposed to come to the ceremony, but Max has just learned that not only is the troubled starlet coming, she’s giving Max an exclusive interview!  All seems wonderful until Halsey arrives sans dress and incoherent, eventually lying down on the red carpet, and as far as Max can tell, dying.  Who could possibly want to extinguish such a rising star?  Max and her entourage are on the case.

Style/Pacing: Very quickly paced from one madcap event to the next. 

Main Character: If you don’t like Joan Rivers even a little you won’t like Maxine.  She’s a brash tell-it-like-it is commentator on fashion and all things of the rich and famous.  As she says if you’ve discovered the cure for cancer and show up to claim your Nobel in a sack she’s not going to say a bad word about you.  Anyone else is fair game.  And she isn’t above poking fun at herself.

Language/ writing: Biting humor and one liners.  Unlike other celebrities who have tried to write mysteries Joan understand that stand up routines don’t make a book.  There is a pretty good mystery here.  Having an experienced co-writer I’m sure helped.

Emotional impact/ Degree of Violence:  Sex, drugs and major egos.  Aside from the death of the starlet on the red carpet the violence is minimal.

Humor: Got to like your humor sharp

Sex/vulgarity: Yep.  It’s Joan Rivers!

Issue Driven: While it’s comedic, including the heroine’s brief stint in rehab to nose around, there are some real issues like drug abuse and infidelity which are addressed

Other notes: I can not believe I enjoyed this book.  But I did.

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