Aparna (inspirethoughts) wrote,

Book Critique 2016 – 10/29/2016: Hooray For Homicide (Murder, She Wrote #2)

Note: It's 2017 and I still have three months of reviews to go from 2016. I am hoping I should be able to finish it soon but we have to wait and see how far into 2017 this will go into. :)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: If you want an easy and quick murder mystery pick it up and you will enjoy it.

Just as Charles Osborne had novelized three of Agatha Christies plays (My review of those books here), James Anderson did a similar thing with Murder, She Wrote TV Series. He novelized a few episodes of this series into three books and this is the second of the three published in November of 1985. This particular book is adapted from two episodes - Deadly Lady first aired on October 7, 1984 and Hooray for Homicide first aired on October 28, 1984. I came across this book in a book sale at my local library and could not resist buying it. And here goes my review.

Cabot Cove is unusually slumped in a hurricane that has never occurred before. And some yachts get caught in it. The following day Ethan Cragg goes into rescue one of the yacht only to come back with something strange with it that warrants Sherriff Tupper to be at the dock on his arrival. Jessica's curiosity gets the best of her to go and see what is happening, only to find a dead body of the owner of the yacht - Stephen Earl - and his four daughters who come under suspicion - Maggie Earl, Grace Earl Lamont, Lisa Earl Shelby and Nancy "Nan" Earl. Well more of suspicion on a missing person until his body floats to the shore. Who is Ralph I reality? He just walks into Jessica's yard claiming a drifter. But is he connected to the murder in some way? And his secret calls to Paris in Kentucky, what are they about?

People who cross Jessica's path as the plots proceed along are - Ralph (a retiree who becomes a wanderer from town to town but now does handyman work for Jessica, for the moment), Brian Shelby (Husband to Lisa and VP of Mark of Earl cosmetics, that Stephen Earl owned) and Terry Jones (engaged to Nan a year ago but he had walked out on her).

The first plot segues neatly into the second plot in which, Jessica's first book The Corpse Danced at Midnight is of interest for a Hollywood producer and has bought an option much to the excitement of Jessica. Only the difference is that the producer - Jerry Lydecker, Hollywood's most controversial producer - was turning it into a horror movie. Jessica goes to Hollywood to have a word with him and set the plot straight. She confronts Jerry once in Hollywood, but to no avail. However, later she finds Jerry murdered on the set.

People Jessica's crosses path with while investigating the murder are - Martin Strindberg (Attorney handling the book transferred to movie), Norman Lester (a member of Strindberg's law firm), Allan Gebhart (scriptwriter of Jessica's novel), Eve Crystal (lead actress of the film), Marta Quintessa (Costume Designer of the film), Ross Hayley (Director of the movie), Scott Bennett (lead actor of the film), Mike Hernandez (Detective Lieutenant assigned to the case), Sergeant Brody (Works with the Lietenant) and Elinor Riggs (Wardrobe mistress).

Obviously the book is much more expanded than the episode, as each scene is elaborately explained; bits and pieces added that wouldn’t be needed for a TV episode. However, another easy read of two episodes of the series in script. Although it took a long time for me to finish it for some reason.
Spoiler Alerts:
1) Hooray for Homicide was Episode #4 from Season 1 of this series and Deadly Lady was Episode #2 from Season 1 of this series. Here are the links to both the TV episodes
a. Deadly Lady

b. Hooray for Homicide:

2) I don’t know which episode but the character Ethan Cragg had completely disappeared from the series as it progressed, with no mention of  about him even as casual reference. I wonder why that happened.

3) Deviations from the original episode Deadly Lady:
a. In the episode, Ralph comes to Jessica Fletcher knowing full well who she was. However, in the book the author skipped that part.
b. Quite a few situations are written differently versus how the episode was pictured like - Jessica looks into a book at the library for Stephen Earl's pic while in the episode she looks at a picture in the paper;
c. Sherriff Tupper is shown to be smoking a cigarette while I don’t remember him doing it in any of the episodes on TV.  Perhaps Tom Bosley who played Sherriff Tupper didn’t like smoking or didn’t want to be pictured with a cigarette in hand.

4) Deviations from the original episode Hooray for Homicide:
a. There is an additional scene in the TV episode showing the affair between Scott and Eve. But in the book it was just depicted in the form of conversations.
b. In the TV episode Jessica hosts a party in Eve's home with only the film crew invited (those being suspected of murder) but in the book she hosts it in her hotel room and has far more people invited - everyone she comes to know in LA since her arrival.
c. The book also concludes with Jessica giving second thoughts about writing but the TV episode just closes after the killer is revealed.

5) Jessica talks about having an Oscar category "Best Wardrobe Mistress". I believe there is one similar to it though - Best Costume Design.

6) Character / Geographical / Grammatical / Location / Historical Errors:
a. The author mentions about murder on Pg. 12, but then reverts to "missing person" on Pg. 16. There was no connection as to how that changed between the two pages, although the plot is basically about a missing person who turns up dead later. The whole conversation until Stephen Earl's dead body is found switches between "missing person" and "murder'" creating a confusion of sorts.
b. On Pg. 105 last para, "bed" is used instead of "bad" in the line "It wasn't too bad with Grace…."
c. On Pg. 185 3rd para from bottom, the line should be "…killed Jerry had me type…" instead it says .."my type.."
7) Didn’t know there was a city named Paris in the state of Kentucky here.
Tags: #2, #4, books, critique by amateur, murder she wrote, reviews

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