New English Library, London, 1971
(price: 25p (5/-); 144 pages)
The blurb on the back:
Onstage, a chorus of plastic-clad models bursts out of a huge Easter egg and brings delirious delight to the audience. Backstage, a lovely young actress swings with a broken neck at the end of a rope.
Something is happening at the Adonis theatre, and only a master of impersonation and deception could know what it is. Somebody like a criminal, for example. Crime and the theatre are both involved in fakery, in hypnotising the observer, and that evening at the Adonis is the beginning of an audacious plot to keep a fortune in stolen jewels from the eyes of the police.
Peter Leslie, author of The Extremists, introduces a new and thrilling element into the bizarre world of a Repertory Company on tour. Rarely has the reader been treated to such a mixture of chills and high camp.
Highlights caressed the black contours of the plastic stretched across the girl's breasts as she burst through the giant Easter Egg and stood with her arms outflung in the middle of the banqueting table.
You might have thought that by the 1970s the country house murder story would have been played out to extinction. But Peter Leslie, for some reason, decided that it might be worth trying to revive the corpse with a shot of kitsch. Clearly bearing the influence of The Avengers and all the other British TV spy shows of the 1960s, this really leaves the mustard uncut.
Normally I wouldn't mention it at all, but I'm really very keen to track down Mr Leslie's previous work, his first novel The Extremists, a love story set in riot-torn Belfast and - as far as I'm aware - the first exploitation novel based on The Troubles (TM). Anyone got a copy I can buy?
ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 1/5
from the maker of:
The Man From UNCLE No.7
The Book of Bilk