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Juggling the Stars

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Juggling the Stars

Current Status:
In Season
Tim Parks
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction

We gave it a C

Tim Parks’ first thriller, Juggling the Stars, rolls three standard British plots into one: 1) ”The loneliness of the scholarship boy” — educated beyond his working-class origins but rejected by the rich, he seeks revenge; 2) ”The Englishman abroad” — an inglese improvises a new persona, that of successful kidnapper and murderer; 3) ”The seducer seduced” — a would-be Don Juan falls in love with the woman he meant to use and discard. The triple- threat hero is Morris Duckworth, a sad-sack language teacher drawn to a life of increasingly gory crime in Verona, Rome, and Sardinia. The result is clever and macabre but slightly out of kilter, as the gritty realism of plot No. 1 interferes with our cool glee in plot No. 2, which in turn undercuts the pathos of plot No. 3. Wait for the television adaptation by Dennis Potter of The Singing Detective fame. C