Murder By Death

You are cordially invited to dinner… and a MURDER

Dense fog, sudden storms and screams in the night… the perfect setting for a murder.  But when you add in a blind butler and five of the greatest detectives ever it’s hard to keep your diabolical plot on course.


“It just isn’t good enough. The millionth mystery I’ve read, and a damned silly, unlikely solution, just like all the other nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. No. No. No! This just cannot go on.” – Lionel Twain (pages 5-6)

I read (and watch) a lot of mysteries and there have been plenty of times when I can relate to this. Either the mystery is solved by some hidden information produced right at the end or the solution is rushed and not very clever. I think that’s one of the reasons I like Neil Simon’s Murder By Death so much! It is one of my favorite movies but I also enjoy reading Henry Keating’s novelization. It’s a funny, fabulous spoof of the murder mystery genre and in particular five of the great detectives: Jessica Marbles (Miss Marple), Milo Perrier (Hercule Poirot), Sydney Wang (Charlie Chan), Dick & Dora Charleston (Nick & Nora Charles) and Sam Diamond (Sam Spade).

“The five greatest criminologists ever, assembled in one room. Someone is going to leave this house as Number One. And over somebody’s dead body, that’s going to be me.” – Miss Marbles (page 91)

murder by death

About The Book: The world’s greatest detectives have been invited to dinner. But when murder is on the menu, who will make it to dessert? The isolated mansion of eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain is the setting for the twisted puzzler. Twain informs his guests that one of them will be murdered at the stroke of midnight. The pay-off: $1 million to whoever lives through the night. Murder By Death neatly lampoons both the mystery genre and the characterizations of the instantly recognizable gumshoes. Match wits with the super sleuths, but remember, you can’t win if you end up dying from laughter!

This Edition: Paperback published by Warner books (1976)

You Might Also Like: Murder Racquet edited by Alfred Hitchcock


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