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Book Club: Curtain Call

Posted on 12th July 2015 by Jonathan O'Brien
A perfectly-plotted mystery is our pick for this week's Waterstones Book Club book
Anthony Quinn's Curtain Call is the rare mystery book with both a strong plot and believable characters. It's a surprisingly difficult combination to find. Mysteries often focus on the core plot to the detriment of the cast but Quinn brilliantly walks the line between the two.

Like any good mystery, the relationships between the central characters is too complicated to explain in a simple paragraph. But I will try. Nina Land is an actress who interrupts an attempted murder by the Tie-Pin Killer when meeting her friend Andrew, a married man no less, at the Imperial Hotel. The woman being attacked is Madeleine Farewell who meets Tom, secretary to the theatre critic Jimmy Erskine. All have something to hide which Quinn slowly reveals over a background of the abdication crisis of King Edward and the decadence of 1930s Soho.
One of our customers, the aptly named 'atticusfinch1048' (honestly, we didn't choose this just because of the upcoming release of Go Set a Watchman, we just liked the review), wrote the following about Curtain Call:
'The way in which Quinn writes draws the reader in to the story and in turn makes us care for the characters and what eventually happens to them. The story and characters set firmly in the tumultuous world of Soho and theatre land when London was at its hedonistic nadir, when being gay meant happy and being queer meant arrest. Home grown fascism was at its rampant best and again examples are in the story reflecting the terror they had brought to the streets of London. 

Curtain Call is stylish and well written. Even when reverting to the language of 1930s English the prose is crystal clear, the storylines are neat and the characters are well developed. As you read through you will appreciate the incisive wit, the attention to the language and, more importantly, the aesthetics of the period. This book is nothing but a pleasure to read that I cannot recommend highly enough.'

Curtain Call is an excellent book which we're proud to have in the Waterstones Book Club.


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