Brett is probably best known for his theatrical mysteries, such as A Reconstructed Corpse and Situation Tragedy. These feature his actor-sleuth, Charles Paris, whose life teeters on the edge of whiskey-sodden chaos. The books are witty diversions with a variety of acting backgrounds and an underlying streak of compassion. Their charm derives not so much from their plots but from their settings and from Paris himself, who ages through the series, and whose record as a detective is scarcely more distinguished than his record as an actor.
Brett has also written much darker crime novels, including A Shock to the System, whose amoral hero shares common ground with Highsmith’s Ripley. Most recently, Brett has experimented with a series involving the widowed Mrs Pargeter, a pensioner with a penchant for mayhem.
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