Fiction Simon Shaw The Company of Knaves

ISBN 13: 9780002325820

The Company of Knaves

 
9780002325820: The Company of Knaves
From Kirkus Reviews:

Stung by a hated rival's knighthood, accomplished actor/criminal Philip Fletcher vows he'll be on next year's Honors List, no matter what it takes to get there. Then the death of Philip's gossipy old friend Seymour Loseby on the way home from Bosie Butterflys, a notorious drag club, provides him a heaven-sent opportunity. Seymour's straitlaced son, a rising Tory M.P., comes to Philip puling that his papa's diary, crammed to bursting with the well-spied indiscretions of Seymour's illustrious intimates, has been stolen and held for a 150,000 ransom. Is there anything Philip can do to help? Of course there is: Philip will recover the incriminating diary in return for a simple ``Sir.'' The resulting bargain, which takes Philip back to Bosie Butterflys again and again, will tax his thespian abilities to the limit, place him in harm's way at the hands of audiences perhaps too uncritically appreciative of his performances, and require him to break several laws besides those of good taste. It'll also give him some anxious moments about what Seymour might have confided as to the felonies Philip himself perpetrated in Dead for a Ducat (1996) and elsewhere. But all of it, except for Philip's tired 11th-hour maneuverings in the trunk of the car carrying him to his presumed death, is tart and effortlessly amusing. Fans of Philip's earlier five adventures, of course, will read on breathlessly wondering if this time he'll escape without committing or concealing a murder. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Actor Philip Fletcher has a huge ego and a kind heart--both of which keep getting him involved in solving crimes. This time his old friend and fellow thespian Seymour Loseby has died, leaving behind a shockingly explicit diary that reveals deeply embarrassing tidbits about his family and friends. The diary has found its way into the wrong hands, and Seymour's son, Nigel, who's on his way to a top cabinet post, is being blackmailed. His desire for discretion warring with his need to find the blackmailer, Nigel turns to Philip, who reluctantly agrees to help. He craftily devises Plan A, which involves appearing as a female impersonator to discover the blackmailer's identity. Plan B includes breaking and entering, sly subterfuge, and singing "Lili Marlene" while dressed in a corset. He needs both, and Plan C as well, before matters are resolved. As usual, Shaw offers a delightfully eccentric story with plenty of comic relief added to a clever and surprisingly suspenseful plot. A pleasure to read. Emily Melton

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