Movie: A Stanley Hastings Mystery

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9780892965694: Movie: A Stanley Hastings Mystery

Actor-turned-private-investigator Stanley Hastings gets his big chance to produce a screenplay, but accidents on the set and a dead body force Stanley to rewrite the ending to trap a killer. By the author of Blackmail.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Following last year's Blackmail, Stanley Hastings's 10th adventure is strictly for fans of the first nine; others will find the actor/PI all too convincing when he complains about just how "dull and painful" movie-making can be. Stanley is elated when producer Sidney Garfellow hires him to write the screenplay of "a karate movie with four hot babes" to be shot in New York City. While scouting out a warehouse for a location, Stanley and crew discover the corpse of a derelict killed by a blow to the head. When the neophyte screenwriter is not listing such dreary details as the number of pages of script shot per day, he gripes about the pampered star who rewrites lines as he goes. A second death, the suspicious fatal fall of a crew member, disrupts production. While the ambitious producer exploits the murder's publicity possibilities, an NYPD sergeant, antagonistic toward Stanley from previous meetings, questions everyone in sight, spurring Stanley's "nagging desire to wipe that smug smile off his face by solving the crime first." That's as charming as Stanley gets in this appearance, in which even the puzzle, based on exploitation and revenge, is a disappointment.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

New York City private eye Stanley Hastings plays against type. He's happily married, dislikes the PI business, and wants to be something else . . . like a screenwriter. That's why he's so excited when his courtroom drama catches the eye of filmmaker Sid Garfellow, who hires Stanley to write the screenplay for a martial-arts action flick. The low-budget production gets off to a rocky start when a homeless man is found beaten to death on the set. The police, led by Stanley's pal/nemesis Sergeant MacAullif of homicide, writes the incident off as random street crime. Then a soundman also dies, and Hastings is forced to combine his old job with his new one. The movie industry has been the subject of numerous mysteries, but it perhaps has never been viewed by as sharp an observer of human frailties as Hastings. The delightfully self-deprecating sleuth brings enormous wit to bear on the mix of self-important blowhards and starry-eyed idealists who populate the film world. An entertaining entry in an underappreciated series. Wes Lukowsky

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