Simon Brett Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Simon Brett is a versatile writer, equally at home with mystery, children’s literature, radio, television, and theatrical drama. For his first mystery series character, Brett looked to the middle-aged actors with whom he worked. They fascinated him, in part because he found them to be so obsessed with themselves. “Somebody defined an actor as someone whose eyes glaze over when the conversation moves away from him,” he said. He created Charles Paris as an amalgam of many of the actors he has known. Brett described Charles to an interviewer: “If anyone starts attacking the theater, he will leap to the defense, but he does have this kind of detachment so that he can sit on the sidelines and . . . see the share of idiocy and greed and all the worst human values.”

Brett is a past chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association (1986-1987). In 2000, he became president of the prestigious Detection Club. He received nominations for Edgar Awards in 1984 for his “Big Boy, Little Boy,” A Shock to the System (1984) in 1986, and “Ways to Kill a Cat” in 1998.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cannon, Peter. Review of A Hanging in the Hotel, by Simon Brett. Publishers Weekly 251, no. 29 (July 19, 2004): 198. A favorable review of a Fethering series novel that finds Jude investigating the death of an inductee in a men’s club.

Fletcher, Connie. Review of Murder in the Museum, by Simon Brett. Booklist 99, no. 17 (May 1, 2003): 1536. Review of this installment in the Fethering series praises the combination of social satire and traditional cozy.

Priestman, Martin. The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Chapters on the Golden Age of detective fiction and postwar British crime fiction provide background on Brett’s works.

Swaim, Don. Simon Brett Interview with Don Swaim. 1986 and 1989. Raw interviews for Don Swaim’s two-minute CBS radio series, Book Beat. The 1986 interview is more than thirty-nine minutes long and discusses Dead Giveaway and Charles Paris, plus differences between British and American mystery writing, radio and television. The 1989 interview is more than fifteen minutes long and discusses both Paris and Mrs. Pargeter.