J.J. Murphy •
Murder Your Darlings •
Deadly wit meets deadly force in the first of a series of mysteries involving the famous literary crowd of the Algonquin Round Table. The usual suspects become de facto suspects when a corpse is found in the hotel’s dining room.
Lying under the Round Table. Stabbed through the heart with a fountain pen.
Every member of the Vicious Circle seems to have had a motive. The deceased, one Leland Mayflower, owed Franklin Pierce Adams $50 from a poker game. As a drama critic, Mayflower was a professional rival of Robert Benchley’s—and he had given a scathing review to a play by Robert Sherwood. Furthermore, he won out over Alexander Woollcott in securing a lucrative product endorsement contract . . . for the very make of fountain pen that killed him.
Meanwhile, the scrawny, scruffy newcomer from Mississippi, nicknamed Mr. Dachshund by Dorothy Parker for his stray-dog demeanor, is behaving very oddly, even by Round Table standards. And that’s saying some.
If wisecracks offered any protection, no one could come to harm within a mile of the Algonquin. Benchley says admiringly of Parker, “She’s full of pith and vinegar.” When Detective Orangutan—uh, O’Rannigan—mistakenly calls the group “newspaper people,” Parker sets him straight. “We’re magazine people,” she declares. “We don’t fold as easily as newspaper people and we have staples in our middles.”
As if all this weren’t enough fun, Murphy stacks the deck with cameos by Harpo Marx, Jack Dempsey, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.—this last operating an elevator, no less. “And he doesn’t have all day. He’s a very busy man.”
By the way, who really originated the phrase “Murder your darlings”? Jump to the Unofficial Literary Trivia Quiz to find out.