"One day I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know."
I'm a huge Marx Brothers fan, and in particular, Groucho. I love their movies, with Animal Crackers probably being my favorite. His blazing fast wit, and ability to find a joke in even the most mundane situation was extraordinary. Having explained my deep admiration for Groucho, I don't think it would come as a surprise to know that I felt a mix of exhilaration and dubiousness when I came across Groucho Marx, Master Detective by Ron Goulart.
I've read other books in the past where authors have tried to bring real life celebrities into a fictional story, often with a mix of success. Some authors, such as Max Allan Collins, have pulled it off with great finesse, but others have often failed to capture the celebrity's true essence. So, I tried to keep an open mind when I picked up Groucho Marx, Master Detective.
When a young starlet with whom he had a brief relationship is found dead, Groucho Marx persuades Frank Denby, the former police reporter who's writing the comedian's new radio show, to see what he can get on the death. But, when it appears that the police are trying to label an obvious murder as a suicide, Groucho and Frank dive headlong into the investigation.
Let me start by saying that this book was AWESOME! Goulart not only was capable of capturing the essense of who Groucho Marx was with rapid-fire patter, but he also brought 1930s Hollywood to life with great historical background and celebrity cameos. Groucho Marx, Master Detective is filled with some great Marx-like witticisms that fans of the comedian could easily imagine as coming from the great man himself.
Although the mystery itself is not overly complex, the book is a fun-filled romp that makes for a pleasant read over a long, rainy weekend. Whether you are a Groucho fan or not, this is a book that will provide quite a number of chuckles for the reader. This is the first in a series written by Goulart featuring Groucho Marx, the other books in the series mostly being just as good as . Although other books in the series are now available in ebook, this one is out of print. But, if you can find a used copy, it is worth picking up.