Picks and Pans Review: Star Light Star Bright

updated 04/23/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/23/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Stanley Ellin

The heroine is a movie star, as lovely and flaky as Marilyn Monroe. She is married to an old billionaire, but she does the bidding of an ex-swindler named Daskalos who heads a religious cult. Private eye John Milano is called to Florida to protect Daskalos after a series of death threats, and Milano brings with him the heavy memories of his own two-week affair with the actress. A veteran mystery writer (several of his stories were adapted for TV's Alfred Hitchcock Presents), Ellin fills the book with Hollywood machinations and trendy clich├ęs, and it moves along nicely with lots of blunt, savage dialogue. While the conclusion is wildly improbable, in this kind of slight entertainment it doesn't make much difference. (Random House, $8.95)

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