Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of The Corspe Wore Pasties

Whatever else you can say about burlesque performer Jonny Porkpie's novel, The Corpse Wore Pasties (Hard Case Crime, 2009), it certainly wins the prize for book with the most underwear similes ever. It's all bra straps and g-strings as Porkpie rushes around New York trying to solve a murder in this not quite roman à clef of a novel.

Porkpie is both the detective and the main suspect in the murder of performer Victoria Vice, after handing her what was supposed to be a prop bottle of poison during a performance. The bottle wasn't a prop, and Victoria was a serial thief, ripping off other burlesque performer's acts as a matter of routine, so there is no shortage of suspects.

Porkpie never takes the book, or himself, too seriously, which is good because he makes the debut mystery author mistake of telegraphing the culprit early on in the story to anyone who's paying attention. The novel works better as a ribald comedy than as a murder mystery. Fortunately, Porkpie can be pretty funny, and his sense of showmanship translates pretty well onto the page. He knows how to create and amusing scene and milk it for all its worth.

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