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Dead Famous

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,847 Ratings  ·  305 Reviews
One house, ten contestants, thirty cameras, forty microphones, one murder ... and no evidence.

Dead Famous is a killer read from Ben Elton – Reality TV as you've never seen it before.
Paperback, 382 pages
Published 2002 by Black Swan (first published 2001)
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Baz Definitely not. I really did not like it. Much prefer his more recent books such as 'The First Casualty'
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cass
May 18, 2012 Cass rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2012
I am laying in bed, wedged firmly in between my two sleeping daughters (and one husband) desperately wishing I owned this book in ebook form.

Alas, I bought the hard copy and it is sitting in the lounge room where it will have to remain, unfinished, until tomorrow.

Can you tell I have enjoyed the book.

I have heard it said that Ben Elton becomes repetitive in his books. I have to agree, but I enjoy it, I love it. He has a way of mocking types of people by caricaturing them in his writing. He mak
...more
Karschtl
Sep 04, 2007 Karschtl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover says: "One house. Ten contestants. Thirty cameras. Forty microphones. One survivor."
You think: Big Brother? You're right. Here it's called "House Arrest", produced by "Peeping Tom Productions".

You know from the beginning that one of the inmates will be killed on day 27. But you have to wait until page 200 to find out who will it be and how. Normally you would think that a murder in a house full of cameras is easy to solve - cause the whole thing must be on video. But it is possible,
...more
Olga Godim
I seldom like books written by male writers. They are usually emotionally distant, and this book was no exception. Just the opposite, it’s so distant that there was no protagonist. I didn’t care for anyone in this book. It’s supposed to be a murder mystery, but by page 69, when I stopped reading, I still didn’t know who was murdered. Why should I care?
The story follows two plotlines. The first plotline is a filming of an imaginary reality TV show House Arrest. Ten people are trapped in one small
...more
Marina Finlayson
Sep 02, 2014 Marina Finlayson rated it really liked it
A highly entertaining comment on society's current infatuation with reality TV, this novel features a "Big Brother"-type show with the addition of a real on-screen murder. At least half the housemates have a motive, so the curmudgeonly old detective assigned to the case has a tough job ahead of him. It's a clever whodunnit, and the final scene where the detective reveals the murderer with some prime-time television theatrics of his own is great fun.
Hannah
Nov 13, 2009 Hannah rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, humour
Ben Elton successfully combines his talents in writing comedy and detective fiction in Dead Famous. As a person who watches very little TV, I hadn't the faintest clue what Big Brother was when I read this book years ago, so I just found myself amused by the idea that so many obnoxious people could have been packed into the same house. How little I knew!

I found the interactions between the contestants extremely interesting, particularly the hatred that they managed to mask for the people they had
...more
Audrey
Apr 07, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it

Chloe met Layla at the door of the limo. She looked rock-chick stunning in black leather trousers and a black-leather bra, while Layla looked hippie-chick stunning in a tie-dye silk sarong and cropped silk singlet. The women hugged and kissed as if they were long-lost sisters instead of complete strangers, one of whom was paid to talk to the other one.


Synopsis: How could it be possible to get away with murder in an entirely sealed environment, every inch of which was covered in television camer
...more
Alex
Dec 10, 2012 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Ben Elton's ear for satire is frequently made of tin. Maybe people in the UK speak as his designated vapid characters do, but they all speak exactly the same as each other, and most of what they say is foreign to Australian ears.

But Dead Famous comes before the excesses of the likes of Chart Throb or Blind Faith, and is therefore only marginally unbelievable. It's not too hard to suspend disbelief, except in frequent jarring moments like one character calling semen "bollock champagne".

Dead Famo
...more
Annika Astradsson
Jun 29, 2011 Annika Astradsson rated it liked it
This is a book about people in a reality show. 10 people (airheads) are locked into a house filled with cameras and one of them is murdered there, and still no one sees the identity of the killer. I'll admit it's a good plot. I'll admit I really like everything negative this gives Ben Elton an opportunity to say about reality shows. I'll even admit I like his way of writing. And though I do enjoy ironic books and films where silly, egotistical people are knocked out of their inflated opinion of ...more
Maria Elmvang
Jul 03, 2009 Maria Elmvang rated it really liked it
Recommended to Maria by: Carina
I was completely fascinated by this book from the very first page. A murder committed in a "Big Brother"-type environment would have seemed impossible to achieve - and certainly very easy to solve - so how could it make for an interesting book? Yet Ben Elton manages to pull it off. I had great difficulties putting it down, and was completely taken aback by the ending... which, granted, wasn't all that likely, even if it was plausible.

The atmosphere of "Big Brother" was spot on (at least as seen
...more
Ben Sawyer
Jun 21, 2015 Ben Sawyer rated it it was amazing
At first, I found the book quite irritating, for the simple reason that the housemates were irritating, and so were the main characters to an extent; and the person who was killed was not revealed until about page 200, which I found to be quite aggravating to begin with.
However, as it developed, I understood how this added drama and tension to the novel, and it made it much more interesting. The book definitely became more intense as it went along, concluding in an explosive and unexpected manne
...more
Helen
Mar 16, 2014 Helen rated it liked it
Reality tv. We all know there is nothing real about it but this book lays bare the thinking behind the weekly segments of so-called real life goldfish bowl existence. The "housemates" appear to have all volunteered because they want to be famous. As appears so common these days they don't want to be famous as or for anything, just famous. The only one who didn't volunteer is Woggle the anarchist, who was persuaded to join by the series' owner and director who wanted an irritant. Woggle doesn't l ...more
Anastassia Dyubkova
Mar 11, 2016 Anastassia Dyubkova rated it really liked it
Всё-таки мне нравится, как лихо Бен Элтон закручивает сюжеты своих детективов. Временами их может быть не очень приятно читать, но скучно - никогда.
Эта книга оригинальна ещё и тем, что читатель узнаёт, кто стал жертвой убийцы, только в середине - до сего момента автор неторопливо и обстоятельно вводит нас в курс дела и подводит к кульминационной точке. Если сначала действие кажется слегка затянутым, то впоследствии появляется динамика, и на этой стадии оторвать себя от книги становится несколько
...more
paper
Feb 24, 2014 paper rated it really liked it
This book really surprised me. I started listening to it as an audiobook and at first, I hated it. After the first CD (40 pages or so), I put it away in disgust, annoyed with the writing style, the characters and the author's apparent political views. But, eventually, the time came when I was stuck in my car with nothing new to listen to. And I was curious about the premise: how could a murder mystery arise when the murder was committed under the all-seeing cameras of Big Brother Peeping Tom? So ...more
Christian Leonard Quale
Dead Famous has an extremely promising premise. You have a Big Brother-like reality show with a bunch of contestants who are locked in a house and being filmed around the clock. One of the contestants gets murdered on live television. Considering the circumstances, this should be a very easy case to solve. Turns out, solving this case is far from easy.
Unfortunately I found the execution of the story to be quite flawed. It's not quite a bad book, but it could have been so much more.

My first probl
...more
trishtrash
Satisfying, smirk-out-loud whodunnit set in the Reality-TV cradle of the ‘Peeping Tom’ house, a direct and pointed send-up of ‘Big Brother’. A contestant is murdered under the watchful eye of thirty cameras, millions of viewers, and nine of the victim’s competitors, and still escapes undetected. Enter the mildly (ranging to wildly) disgusted detective Coleridge whose weary pedantry lifts him and his investigation nicely above the ‘parody’ label, so that the reader can enjoy the mystery element a ...more
Jeeves Williams
Apr 23, 2012 Jeeves Williams rated it it was amazing
If Dead Famous were a Subway sandwich, the meat would be a murder mystery, and the sauce would be the sprinklings of Elton’s renowned style of satirical wit and ironic humour. And by heck, is this a delicious sandwich. So scrumptious in fact, this being my first taste of a Ben Elton BLT, I rushed to the bookstore halfway through to get all the other flavours. Now my bookshelf is weighed down by every one of his sarcastic stories, from Stark to Meltdown.

We’re presented with a detective, Chief Ins
...more
Lachlan Smith
Oct 12, 2012 Lachlan Smith rated it really liked it
"One House. Ten contestants. One winner!" shouts the narrator during the opening credits of the Big Brother-like "reality" program "House Arrest". House Arrest is a program that sees ten contestants vie for the public's attention to win half a million pounds, and the show is in its third season. The critics do not think that the series will last very long, but they had no idea what was in store - because what the opening credits don't tell you is that, on day twenty-seven in the house, one of th ...more
Simon Taylor
Aug 28, 2013 Simon Taylor rated it really liked it
Ben Elton turns his dark wit to Big Brother and its spawn with his dramedy Dead Famous. The premise is as you would expect – a handful of strangers being filmed in a house 24/7 with evictions occurring on a weekly basis. The twist: somebody inside this CCTV-rigged house manages to get themselves murdered.

The novel is structured in such a way that it takes advantage of the omnipotent time stamps which pervade the genre – there are no chapters, only days and times respective to how long the compet
...more
Dylan
Aug 29, 2012 Dylan rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
On one level, Dead Famous is a largely forgettable attempt to capitalize on a pop cultural fad. Ben Elton's acid observations about the exploitative, cynical nature of reality television are more or less true, but reality TV is an incredibly easy target and I doubt anything Dead Famous says was a new insight even in 2001. As a social commentary, it's not wrong, but it's also not all that valuable. As a murder mystery though, it's pretty good. The writing is fast and funny, the structure of the m ...more
Quentin Feduchin
Aug 21, 2013 Quentin Feduchin rated it it was amazing
I read this book so many years ago that I couldn't remember much about it. In fact I wasn't aware I'd read it until half way! And even then I wasn't sure 'who dunnit'.

It's about a Big Brother type TV program and it's pretty excruciating. The police superintendent and his staff have to watch all the episodes, and most of the stuff wasn't even shown on TV, and it's pretty horrible.

But it's sexy in parts, stupid of course, funny in a horrible filthy kind of way, ugly where the show-owner is involve
...more
Mike Mckeon
Feb 13, 2016 Mike Mckeon rated it really liked it
Fun intelligent read. A murder happens unnoticed in a sealed Big Brother style house broadcast live. He really delves into the psyhces of the characters, those who hate reality shows, those who love them & those who sign up to be on them.
Telans
Mar 20, 2016 Telans rated it liked it


"Смерть за стеклом" - едкая сатира на современное медийное общество, которая с большим или меньшим изяществом прячется за фасадом герметичного детектива. Итак, читателю дано: дом, 10 разнородных субъектов, которые в реальной (а не в *реальной*) жизни вряд ли бы когда-нибудь встретились и стали общаться, почти полная изоляция от внешнего мира, баба Яга редкостной душевной красоты в качестве режиссера, и ...шоу начинается! Причем, основная часть шоу начнется как раз после убийства в этом самом изо
...more
Robyn
Oct 12, 2015 Robyn rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This is a book that starts of slow and, for me personally, takes a while to get into. We know that someone in the house has been killed but we don't find out who or how until about page 200 and something. What I love about murder mysteries is knowing who was killed and following the characters throughout the rest of the book to see who you think had the motive or the best chance of committing the murder. But you're unable to do this with the beginning of the book, which is when we are ...more
Gem
I still don't know what to make of this book. It's clearly satire based on the premise that the world has gone crazy over reality TV. It shines a light on how brutal and unfair these shows can be, and takes everything to the extreme.

I'm divided, because I absolutely can't stand watching Big Brother - and essentially that's exactly what this book is (albeit in an even more exaggerated way if that's possible). So I got really annoyed with it. I thought to myself that no way are the people who take
...more
Rosemary
Jun 17, 2013 Rosemary rated it liked it
I think you really have to have seen the early years of Big Brother (and perhaps the British version) to enjoy this. There's a lot of sex, slang and over-the-top satire of the cult of celebrity, reality shows and the TV companies that produce them. It's dated already (the word of the day is still "wicked", not "awesome" or even "cool") but it really brought back those early Big Brother series and I found it very funny in a dreadful sort of way.
Centaur White
Apr 14, 2016 Centaur White rated it really liked it
Много лек и приятен за четене поглед върху реалити-тв и докъде са готови да стигнат продуцентите на реалити форматите само и само да им се гледа продукцията.
Образите на участниците в "Домашен арест" са напълно реални, то в съвременния свят какви ли не утрепки има, толкова е лесно да се предвидят точно тия.
Образът на инпектор Кулридж като старомоден полицай, който не разбира същността на реалити програмите тип "Биг Брадър" и въобще, на реалити програмите, всъщност казва много повече, отколкото ре
...more
Heather Stansfield
Jun 28, 2015 Heather Stansfield rated it did not like it
The first third of the book is the least gripping thing I have ever read. I only carried on due to the acclaim Ben Elton has received from my friends and parents. Every time I thought the book started to get better, it just seemed to drag on for more time than it should have. I thought the lead up to the end was tense and I genuinely wanted to know what happened. The ending would have worked for me if Elton hadn't thrown in some weird way in which it was possible for the killer to commit the mur ...more
Anna
Apr 22, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read, I liked the irony and the stretching of the imagination in it. Found the old style detective novel ending entertaining too.
Alex Robinson
Jan 17, 2016 Alex Robinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Works as both mystery and scathing critique of reality shows and the society that watches/creates them.
Bernadine Wilsenach
Sep 04, 2015 Bernadine Wilsenach rated it liked it
I don't read the blurbs when selecting a book. I get recommendations on Goodreads, I skim the reviews briefly, if the book has an average rating of 4 or higher it goes on my "to read" list and then when I come across a book on that list I read it. So often I have no idea what a book is about when I start it.

I found that every character in this book irritated me. As someone who has never followed Big Brother, I feel irritated that I had sit through this rubbish reality experience with vapid peopl
...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Book about fictional reality tv show like Big Brother [s] 5 37 Jan 19, 2014 09:30PM  
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo
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