Gilbert Cruz
May 30, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Circle (2001)

type
Movie
genre
Foreign Language, Drama
release date
04/13/01
runtime
90 minutes
performer
Maryiam Palvin Almani, Nargess Mamizadeh, Fareshteh Sadr Orfani
director
Jafar Panahi
author
Kambuzia Partovi
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated

We gave it a B+

Murder mysteries generally have a taste for the absurd. Elaborate, often grisly death scenes lead to the inevitable, sometimes illogical plot twist. So it’s a treat to see a novel as securely grounded in reality as Peter Lovesey’s The Circle. In an English village, a small publisher visits a writer’s circle composed of enthusiastic but not necessarily talented amateur writers. He dashes their hopes, his house is soon ablaze, and suspicion falls on the group. Inspector Henrietta Mallin doesn’t appear until halfway through the book, a risky move that allows Lovesey to develop each of the circle’s dozen believably eccentric members. Lovesey’s restraint, wit, and charming cast ensure his place in the winner’s circle.

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