Our characters are Dorothy Parker and her fellow members of the Algonquin Round Table otherwise known as ‘The Vicious Circle’. In this first novel, Parker arrives early for lunch and discovers a body under the table. At first she thinks he is dead drunk; it turns out he is just dead. The victim is a critic who has been stabbed in the heart with his fountain pen. Just about any writer has moments when they would like to do in a critic, especially one as nasty as our dead critic. The main suspect, however, is a young man who, the staff claims, just turned up at the Algonquin and was “hanging around”. The young man was actually waiting to try to meet Parker. He is an aspiring young author who has come to New York to try to find his “voice”. He is William “Billy” Faulkner and Parker assures him that his voice will find him.
The character of Dorothy Parker is done with all the acid wit that she was famous for and I found the book a true delight to read. Many times, when the character of a mystery was a person in real life, the portrayal falls short. Not so here. Dorothy and her friends come to life. Murphy has done an excellent job. The book captures the aura of New York City in the 1920’s. I hope there are many more books, in this series, to come. I can’t wait for the next one.