- Copertina rigida: 262 pagine
- Editore: St Martins Pr (aprile 1998)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 031218106X
- ISBN-13: 978-0312181062
- Peso di spedizione: 386 g
Groucho Marx, Master Detective (Inglese) Copertina rigida – apr 1998
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Book by Goulart Ron
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Ron Goulart's novel is a pleasant diversion. If you are a hardcore mystery fan there is really not much here, so it may well be this book is going to tickle the fancy of devoted Marxists such as myself. With this Groucho Marx you get both the blazing and constant sarcastic abuse (one of the running gags is people thinking they recognize Groucho without his mustache) and the "real" Julius Marx (on those rare occasions when he forces himself to drop all of the pretenses). The parade of Hollywood stars in the background seems a bit forced at this point, but it becomes more refined down the road. The main thing is that we get another chance to hear Groucho speak. Ever since I heard about "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine," a play in which the second act is the Marx Brothers doing Chekov (sort of), I have been open to the idea of reviving Groucho and his siblings in new and creative ways. In that regard, Ron Goulart's books are a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
In his latest novel, Ron Goulart takes us back to Hollywood in 1937. Groucho Marx is embarking on his latest venture, a radio program titled, aptly enough, Groucho Marx, Master Detective. In this book we are introduced to Frank Denby, an ex-crime reporter who has been hired to script Groucho's new show. The story begins with Denby trying to make a ten o'clock appointment at an ad agency in Beverly Hills. While driving down Ocean Boulevard, he finds traffic tied up because of some police activity in front of a small cottage. Trying to avoid a collision with a police car, Denby inadvertantly runs down a bicyclist by the name of Jane Danner. Miss Danner is not injured, but the bike is totalled and Denby offers her a ride to work.
After a somewhat depressingmeeting with Groucho and some ad agents, sponsors, and radio execs, Denby and his recent traffic victim get together for a quiet dinner. On returning to Denby's digs, the two find Groucho waiting on the steps. Groucho produces a newspaper story announcing the death of up-and-coming actress, Peg McMorrow who, coincidentally, turns out not only to have been an acquaintance of his from the recent past, but also the reason for all the police activity that caused Denby and Danner's "meeting" earlier in the day. The story in the paper calls the death a suicide, but Groucho knows better. And, begging the help of his new sidekick/writer, he decides to embark on a quest to prove that the cause of death was, in fact, murder.
Theplot takes us through a number of twists and turns involving irate sponsors, crooked cops, movie moguls, and a fair number of Hollywood's more sinister characters. With all this running around and getting shot at, not to mention the fact that he has a brand new radio show to get on the air, Groucho certainly has his hands full!
I came away from this book totally satisfied. While a few factual matters involving Groucho's life are a bit distorted here and there, this is after all a novel, and a most enjoyable one at that. Goulart presents an intriguing mystery in which he has managed to capture Groucho's comic spirit wonderfully. Complete with just the sort of wisecracks and non-sequitur we've all come to know and love from Groucho's lengthy career, this novel caused me to chuckle openly and often; I can easily imagine Groucho delivering the lines Goulart has written for him (the interplay between Denby and Danner is pretty entertaining as well). Groucho Marx, Master Detective is a fun read, and a novel that I think will appeal to Marxists (not to mention mystery fans) everywhere. Personally, I'm looking forward to a sequel!