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A Deadly Habit

(Charles Paris #20)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Rehearsals in a new West End play are disrupted by sudden, violent death in the intriguing new Charles Paris mystery

Having landed a small part in a new West End play, The Habit of Faith, Charles Paris is dismayed to discover that his good fortune has been orchestrated by his bête noire, the now-famous screen actor Justin Grover. But why has Grover become involv
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by Severn House
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  124 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading the Charles Paris series for years and this was my first foray in quite awhile. I enjoyed it because I like reading books that are about the entertainment industry, as I have experience in that industry. However, this book is really not funny and all of the others that I have read are hilariously funny. So there was that. But I still enjoyed revisiting Charles Paris. I have never read these books in any particular order which is unusual for me now, but years ago I didn't pay ...more
Elaine Tomasso
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishing for an advance copy of A Deadly Habit, the twentieth novel to feature actor Charles Paris.

Charles is ambivalent about being offered a part in a new West End play, The Habit of Faith, because he thinks the play is "crap" and the part was offered by international superstar Justin Grover, a man he has worked with before and doesn't like. The lure of "West End wages" and no alternative mean he accepts the role but it isn't plain
Hannelore Cheney
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for the eARC.
This 20th in the Charles Paris series is my favorite. After 5 years, it was good to return to Charles' chaotic life as a womanizing, boozing mediocre actor.
He has been offered a part in a West End play, promising 4 months of work and wages, after 'resting' for quite a while. His part is small and he doesn't think much of the play, but he's not complaining. He has worked with several of the other cast members, years ago, and
Diane Hernandez
A Deadly Habit plops Charles Paris in a West End play where a real murderer is afoot.

Charles Paris “spent a great deal more time out of work than in”. But things are looking up when his lackluster agent Maurice finds him a three-month job playing a monk in The Habit of Faith in London’s West End. Little does Charles know that he will soon be investigating a cast member’s murder while also trying to quit drinking his beloved Bell’s whiskey and reunite with his long-estranged wife, Fra
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-england
The title of this book refers to the play, "The Habit of Faith," in which Charles Paris gets a small part. Or does it refer to the alcoholism that Charles finally decides to confront in himself? After a number of books about this character, Brett seems to be taking a darker view of his self-destructive detective/actor. Although a member of the cast is killed, and Charles does investigate in his usual disorganized way, most of the book is about Charles' attempt to dry out to please his long-estra ...more
Rog Harrison
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I actually read the hard cover edition but for some reason Goodreads will not let me add this edition.

I like Charles Paris and have enjoyed this series but I found this book to be a little sad. This used to be a light hearted series about a second rate actor who drinks too much who still manages to solve mysteries however there is not much humour in this story. Indeed the title seems to be more about Charles realising that he is an alcoholic than the fact that he is appearing in a pl
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actor Charles Paris, who is in his late-fifties, rarely lands decent parts anymore. In fact, his lackadaisical agent, Maurice Skellern, has not even called Paris for more than four months. While awaiting his next role, Charles spends hours drinking; he is an alcoholic who does not recognize the seriousness of his condition. Much to Charles's surprise, Skellern informs him that he has landed a small but well-paying role in the West End. Meanwhile, Charles's estranged wife, Frances, is generously ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Actor Charles Paris has been separated from his wife Frances for several years, but she is willing to reconcile. However, first he must give up drinking, a habit that has led to many past problems in their marriage. As Charles considers this difficult decision, he is given a role in a play portraying a monk. He’s a little suspicious about how easily the part was offered to him, but he can’t afford to turn down the chance at a steady paycheck. Before the play opens, one of the cast members is fou ...more
Robin Loves Reading
>Please see all of my reviews on my blog at

Charles Paris is an actor who hasn't worked in several months. He is rather surprised to find himself set for a role in a play that he didn't even have to audition for. While he is quite pleased to be working again, he is working on something else, a possible reconciliation with his wife.

I didn't enjoy this story as much as I thought I would, but that is simply because I jumped in so late in the series, so I will give this book four stars.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A Deadly Habit is the twentieth book in Simon Brett’s Charles Paris comic murder mystery series. Given that Charles – boozy, womanising and charmingly roguish jobbing actor-cum-amateur sleuth – was “Forty-seven years old and still attractive to women” in Cast, In Order of Disappearance in 1975, he is doing well to be “only in his late fifties” twenty books and forty-odd years later. I love this series and was pleased when it returned from a significant hiatus in 2013.

2018’s instalmen
Sara Eames
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I am a Simon Brett fan and usually enjoy his books - especially the Fethering Mysteries and the Mrs Pargeter series - but I just can't take to Charles Paris. This is the 2nd Paris mystery and have tried and, I'm sorry to say, the main protagonist just leaves me cold. He is self-centered, egotistical (to the point of me wanting to punch him) and has virtually no redeeming features. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good anti-hero, but Charles Paris fails miserably in this role.

Anyhow, enough of t
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I've liked the Charles Paris novels since I first read Cast in Order of Disappearance about 30 years ago, and laughed aloud all the way through. I've found the later books rather depressing, as I really don't find alcoholism funny, but well-written and still entertaining. In this book various people, starting with his wife Frances, are trying to get Charles to realise that his drinking is causing him problems, and I was hoping they would succeed. The setting, characters and dialogue a ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Charles Paris has an acting job! A major one, that will last for a few months, not just a few days! Oh joy! This calls for a drink! Or a bottle! And therein lies his problem. Everything calls for a drink. But Charles doesn't see the issue. His wife is looking to retire and buy a smaller place, perhaps including Charles in her plans, but only if he stops drinking. Perish the thought! But when the female lead in the new production is found dead and Charles doesn't remember anything about that nigh ...more
Judith Cranswick
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved Simon Brett's Charles Paris novels and read them avidly in the seventies and eighties. I was so disappointed when he appeared to abandon Charles in favour of writing the Fethering Mysteries. Finding his latest novel is another Charles Paris was a pure delight.
Charles Paris is an actor and all the books have a theatre setting. Charles is a loveable rogue. A hopeless alcoholic, who despite trying to get back with his wife Francis, never misses a chance when a pretty (make that, avail
Michelle B
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A murder mystery set in London’ west end 🎭- two of my favourite things, combined with Simon Brett’s wonderful style of writing, made A Deadly Habit a perfect read.
Charles Paris would be dreadful to live with, (although in this book we do see taking some steps to remedy some of his faults) but he is immensely likeable and somewhat enduring as a main character.
I loved the references placed throughout the book to his press reviews from Charles’ previous performances; all of which were not ki
Oct 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirk Hanley
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read all 20 (!) of the Charles Paris mysteries. In the end, I don't read these expecting an involved, complex mystery. Mostly, they're a chance to spend time with an old friend, albeit one who I wish would finally get his life together. In every book, I find myself saying to myself, "Oh, Charles..." on numerous occasions, wondering why he does what he does. But of course, I know. Like all of us, he's a flawed character, but one we begrudgingly find ourselves liking.
Heidi Kirsch
Jan 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I wasn't even sure this was a mystery until he states so in the middle of the book. It seemed as though it was just meanderings by a heavy drinking, parttime actor. Then after wandering through chapters of mostly maudlin drivel, its over. I actually looked to see if pages had been torn out of the end of the book.
Verity W
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Oh Charles. Oh Charles. What are you doing. This is another clever installment in the series, and one where Mr P finally starts to take a good hard look at himself while he's got a gig in the West End.
Joy Stephenson
Aug 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
I enjoyed the earlier Charles Paris books - fun, light mysteries - but this one was awful. The plot is plodding and predictable, Charles' battle with the booze has been done to death and the ending was unsatisfactory.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a new Charles Paris.
He will take some getting used to. Still an enjoyable read into the backstage doings of theatre.
David Slater
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
All actors should read these great Paris books. Great fun.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not great literature by any means, but a book that makes me laugh and turn the pages compulsively deserves four stars.
Rosie Claverton
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, audiobook
A very strong character voice dominates the book, with an intriguing mystery thread alongside the personal journey of the protagonist.
Alice Castle
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this, and I'm a big fan of Charles Paris. No spoilers, but Simon Brett saved the best till last. Can't wait for the next.
John Sargent
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Charlie is a likable character with a good sense of fairness and justice. He does have to do better with the battle of the Bells.
Sarah Dunsbee
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: john
Not much mystery more about alcohol... unsatisfactory ending really, but ok read
Margaret Schoen
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a review of an ARC from NetGalley.

Struggling actor Charles Paris has landed a good gig, a minor role in a new Wet End play, and is *almost* back together with his long-suffering wife Frances. When a violent death interrupts rehearsals, Charles begins his investigations as usual. But this time his detecting is interrupted by something unusual for him - the possibility that his drinking may have tipped from being impressive to disturbing. Is it finally time for him to give it u
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
On the lighter side, actor Charles Paris plays sleuth again in The Deadly Habit (Severn House, digital galley). Alcoholic and middle-aged, Paris is surprised to get a part in a new West End production starring Justin Grover, an actor with whom he worked long ago but who has since become rich and famous. Although he's trying not to drink so as to get back with his estranged wife Frances, Charles falls off the wagon at an inopportune moment, stumbling over a dead body backstage, then making a quic ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book that I have read by this author who has and impressive list of books to his credit.
This is the latest in a series about the protagonist of this novel. The book is very up to date in its use of social media, cell phones, computers, and popular cable shows. I enjoyed the setting in London's West End theatrical district. The characters and the plot keep you very interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I was disappointed by the way this story ended for the p
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Simon Brett is a prolific British writer of whodunnits.

He is the son of a Chartered Surveyor and was educated at Dulwich College and Wadham College, Oxford, where he got a first class honours degree in English.

He then joined the BBC as a trainee and worked for BBC Radio and London Weekend Television, where his work included 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and 'Frank Muir Goes Into ...'.


Other books in the series

Charles Paris (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Cast, in Order of Disappearance (Charles Paris, #1)
  • So Much Blood (Charles Paris #2)
  • Star Trap
  • An Amateur Corpse (Charles Paris, #4)
  • A Comedian Dies (Charles Paris, #5)
  • The Dead Side of the Mike (Charles Paris, #6)
  • Situation Tragedy
  • Murder Unprompted
  • Murder in the Title (Charles Paris #9)
  • Not Dead, Only Resting: A Charles Paris Mystery