Greg's Reviews > Death Before Bedtime

Death Before Bedtime by Edgar Box
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's review
May 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read in May, 2011

Would you like to know something I don't care about? No? Well I'll tell you anyway. I didn't care, nor care now that I'm done with the book, who killed the Senator in this book. I just didn't find myself giving a shit who was the murderer. That's not the attitude I should have had reading this book but it's true, I just didn't care. The whole mystery, who-dunnit, part of the novel bored me. Not caring it was difficult to want to keep reading.

This is an Agatha Christie style murder mystery, with someone dying and all of the people in the house at the time being suspects. The cast of characters is made up of Washington DC high society types, circa early 1950's and if it weren't for Gore Vidal's charming and witty writing style the whole book would have been a totally painful experience. Instead there are some great moments of interaction between characters as they are all trapped in the house together as the crime is solved. At the book's best it is like Proust's party scenes without the long tangential expositions. The buffoonery and pretensions of political society are skewed mercilessly by Vidal and when the focus is off of the tedious murder mystery the book is very very enjoyable.

While the book is short I kept thinking that Vidal was probably being paid by the word for this book, and I imagine the reason he wrote these mystery novels in the early 50's was for money. Or maybe I'm just being cynical and the drawn out mystery parts are what mystery readers would call delightful red herrings, to me they are just annoying deceptions.

This book has recently been reissued by Vintage on their crime imprint. The reissue has a pretty snazzy cover and a new introduction written by Vidal. I didn't read the new edition and I'd be curious to read Vidal's introduction or maybe just do some wikipedia research to find out the reasons why Vidal chose to write these novels under the pseudonym Edgar Box in the very early days of his writing career. I'm fairly sure it was all for the money but his tart style still shows up and I'd say is the real reason that people should give this book a chance.

Four stars for the really good dialog and observations, two stars for the mystery side of the story that didn't do anything for me equals a solid three stars for this book.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by karen (new)

karen two people beat tommy here!

Greg Tommy is slacking

message 3: by karen (new)

karen come on!! more votes!! show tommy up!!

The Crimson Fucker see! i was gonna vote!!! and now i can't!!! cuz of that comment! still good review! you get my inner vote Mr. Greg!

message 5: by karen (new)

karen you cant vote because i said to?? you should like this - by voting, you will be killing someone else's dream - don't you live for that?

The Crimson Fucker i live to oppose!!! i can't do it if there is people wanting me to do something! is my nature!!!!

message 7: by karen (new)

karen so oppose tommy!

The Crimson Fucker I dont know who Tommy is! he can't get gonorrhea for all i care!!!

still! you can rejoice in the fact that some people like opposing me! they may vote to annoy me! or start asking me to vote till i get annoy to the point of either kill somebody or vote so they will leave me alone!!!!

message 9: by karen (new)

karen hahah it's not that big of a deal; i was just having some fun.

message 10: by karen (new)

karen hahahaahhaahaaaa

too late - no more votes! this review is closed for votes!

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