Picks and Pans Review: A Reconstructed Corpse

updated 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Simon Brett

Beach Book of the Week

A gruesome murder, a true-crime TV show, a dishy widow, a dashing private eye and a weathered actor who is a dead ringer for the apparent murder victim—it all spells sizzle, dazzle and glamor—a perfect vacation read. Well, not so much glamor. Indeed, practically none, which is precisely the point of Brett's hilarious series, now 15 volumes long, about the low life and scruffy times of Charles Paris, an also-ran actor and borderline alcoholic, who is nonetheless a canny unraveler of mysteries. And this wry tale of just how far TV will go in pursuit of ratings shows him at his sardonic best. (Scribner's, $20)

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