Murder Your Darlings
Esteemed author Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch counseled, regarding beautifully written phrases, to expunge them: “murder your darlings.” Someone has taken him literally at the Algonquin Roundtable, the luncheon “mise en scène” of Dorothy Parker’s Vicious Circle, which included her witty chums writing for Vanity Fair. Arriving early for a change, Dorothy notices a body lying under their table when drinks had not yet been served. This lifeless form was recognized as a critic, stabbed through the heart with a fountain pen. Interrupted by a newcomer who introduces himself as Billy Faulkner from the South, Dorothy realizes her life may be picking up in interest as she decides to pursue the murderer of said critic and adopts the hapless Billy in aid of her quest.
Other members of the famous “Roundtable” play their parts. Robert Benchley, her cuddly cohort, helps if only to thwart those who would thwart Dorothy in her mission for the truth. This new series shows comical and intelligent promise. Each character stays true to the original in comment and personality. Being the 1920s, the author’s marvelous Foreword may become the prototype for modern readers of historical novels of the more recent past.