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 clichés, 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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