a few months ago

Satirizing Donald Trump is a tall order

Christopher Buckley is far and away the most accomplished political satirist writing today in America. In novels such as Thank You for Smoking and They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?, he has skewered the nation’s political establishment six ways from Sunday. Now, for the first time in nearly a decade, he returns to that field of […]

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a few months ago

Groucho Marx solves another baffling murder

In the sixth and final entry in Ron Goulart‘s series of Groucho Marx Mysteries, the irrepressible comedian and his trusty sidekick and scriptwriter, Frank Denby, once again wander into the thicket of Hollywood studio politics to investigate a murder. This time around, the murder victim in question is a musclebound would-be actor who has been […]

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7 months ago

Groucho Marx exposes Nazi spies in Hollywood

You can read the Groucho Marx Mysteries as detective stories in an historical setting. Certainly, they’re conceived and plotted along those lines, and they work as mysteries. The fifth book in the series, in which Groucho exposes Nazi spies in Hollywood, certainly does. But for me the main attraction of these charming little books is […]

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9 months ago

A satirical novel about Donald Trump by Dave Eggers

It’s a little hard to believe that anyone could write a satirical story about Donald Trump, whose behavior is so far over the top that he would seem immune to satire. Yet that’s exactly what San Francisco literary phenomenon Dave Eggers has done in The Captain and the Glory. Unlike Christopher Buckley and other well-established […]

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10 months ago

Groucho Marx solves two baffling murders

For most Americans who recognize the name, Groucho Marx was one of the three Marx Brothers who headlined a series of 1930s Hollywood comedies, most famously Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera. Yet to me he was the hilarious host of the radio and, later, television quiz show, You Bet Your Life. […]

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11 months ago

Carl Hiaasen introduces Florida’s feral one-eyed ex-Governor

If you’ve read many of Carl Hiaasen‘s more than two dozen novels, you’ve probably come across the six-foot-six, one-eyed Florida ex-governor who’s gone feral in the Everglades and subsists largely on road kill. His name is Clinton Tyree, but other than a few close friends, one and all know him as Skink. By partnering with […]

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last year

A kidnapping tale from the master of the comic caper novel

In the course of his 75 years, Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) published more than 100 novels and nonfiction books. He’s best known for his comic stories about crime capers, especially the fourteen books in the Dortmunder series about (to crib a phrase from Jimmy Breslin) a “gang that couldn’t shoot straight.” He wrote under numerous […]

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last year

Groucho Marx versus Sherlock Holmes: guess who wins

Every self-respecting film buff is well acquainted with the Marx Brothers. Both Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera are among the top twelve comic films selected by the American Film Institute, and three others they made join them in the top 100. There were five brothers. But of all five, the only one […]

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