Michael's Reviews > Dead Famous

Dead Famous by Ben Elton
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's review
Jun 18, 2008

liked it
Read in January, 2003

Ben Elton takes a page from the Agatha Christie style of murder mystery--bring together a group of potential suspects, let a murder occur and then have an outside try to piece together the threads that will deliver the solution. Elton's twist on this classic story of the genre is to have the murder take place inside a reality TV show house where all the action is broadcast to the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With all that coverage, how could someone commit the crime in question, much less have there be a mystery surrounding it?
Edlund does a nice job with creating the situation and populating it with interesting characters. And the hook of the murder taking place inside a Big Brother type house is enough to keep you turning the pages. There are lots of red herrings in the book and the identity of the murderer won't be too shocking when you finally find out who it is. But the mystery itself isn't necessariliy what I'd call terribly deep or complex. But then again, this book isn't intended to be deep and complex on the same level as a Minette Walters or an Elizabeth George novel.

Instead, what you get are some rather memorable characters that inhabit the story. There's an awfully lot of rather witty dialogue and some interesting observances on the popularity of reality TV and what it means to our culture. Also looked at is the type of people who go on these shows. Yes, there's a lot of emphasis on wanting to make things sexy and interesting for the sake of ratings.

In the end, the story isn't necessarily the deepest, but the book is still an entertaining one. It's not going to require a great deal of thought. It's an ideal read for a long summer afternoon by the pool or after a long day of work when you don't want to work the grey cells too much.


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