Wednesday, 18 July 2001

Caryl Brahms and S.J. Simon: Casino for Sale (1938)

Edition: Hogarth Press, 1986 (Buy from Amazon)
Review number: 875

The second Brahms and Simon collaboration is a sequel to A Bullet in the Ballet, and is once more a humorous murder mystery set in the chaotic Stroganov ballet company. The eternally optimistic Stroganov, seeing an advert for a casino for sale in a minor resort in the south of France, decides that his fortune is made. Buying it, he transfers his ballet company there and is immediately plunged into rivalry with the casino owned by the English Lord Buttonhooke.

There is very little difference between A Bullet in the Ballet and Casino for Sale. Both are amusing, affectionately ridiculing the pretensions of the edges of the professional ballet world; both are filled with eccentric caricatures; and both have a murder mystery entirely subsidiary to the humour. A Bullet in the Ballet is perhaps more consistently funny, but like one and you will like the other.

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