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.