REGARDING THE APPEAL

FROM:             Rev. Felinius Sonnybear

SUBJECT:        Mantra

Date:               23 August, at 15:07

TO:                  Bradley Friedman

Your presence at our last Zoom Yogathon was troubling, kiddo. You continue to allow yourself to bear the weight of the world on your shoulders. Are you practicing your breathing exercise? Did you receive the packet of licorice beetroot tea I sent you. It must be sipped only after it has become lukewarm. Don’t be alarmed at the changes in coloring of your urine; that is a harmless side effect. 

Here’s your mantra for the day: “I will not laugh at the terrible misfortunes of others.” Hope constant repetition six times a day eases your soul. 

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        Re: Mantra

DATE:             21 August, at 15:13

TO:                  Rev. Felinius Sonnybear

Your mantra arrived a day late and a dollar short. Have just finished The Appeal, Janice Hallett’s marvelous debut mystery, and I’m doubled over with laughter at the misfortunes of others. You should try it! With love, from Brad xxx

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        Book Recommendation

DATE:             21 August, at 15: 32

TO:                  Surreal Biggerstaff

Hey, Surreal!! I hope you took my advice and downloaded your copy of Hallett’s book. It’s the first modern mystery short of children’s books that I’ve read in a long long time that pays beautiful homage to the classic era while still being incredibly modern. Maybe it’s the fact that the entire plot is made up of e-mails, texts, letters, phone messages, and other sundry documents. Yeah, it borrows a page straight out of Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Documents in the Case by way of Dennis Wheatley’s murder portfolios. The only difference? The Appeal is both a great mystery and a hilarious one! Whaddaya think??? With love, from Brad xxx

FROM:            Surreal Biggerstaff

SUBJECT:        Re: Book Recommendation

DATE:             21 August, at 19:30

TO:                  Bradley Friedman

I’m 20% through the book. If you contact me again and reveal any more details before I’ve finished, I will shut . . . you . . . down!! I mean it, Bradley! Leave me alone for two days!!

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        The Appealing Appeal

DATE:             22 August, at 4:45

TO:                  JJ

Well, bro, you certainly picked a winner when you reviewed Janice Hallett’s The Appeal. I’ve been recommending it right and left to everyone I know. My friend Surreal is so enamored of the book that she keeps writing me, thanking me and begging me to talk to her about it. This book contains every disaster you need to make up a good mystery: murder, obsession, adultery, physically ill children and animals, mentally ill grown-ups, man’s inhumanity to man, the mounting of a community theatre production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. I haven’t had such a good laugh since the final episode of Game of Thrones! We should really do a podcast episode about this one together! I know you’re going back to teaching and curtailing much of your podcast energies, but I could host it for you. I just need you to teach me how. If you could, you know, sort of be on call at any moment, I’m sure I could get this all sorted and we could have a great time spreading the word about this. With love, from Brad xxx

FROM:            James Edgerton Noy

SUBJECT:        

DATE:             22 August, at 13:11

TO:                  Bradley Friedman

It looks like you were up before dawn sending your message!! Sleep troubles again? Nice of you to come up with ideas for a podcast, but I said all I needed to say in my own review. Plus, guesting on the Australians’ national show, setting up my 1st Annual Tea for the Tonys (Horowitz and Medawar), and, of course, acting head judge for the Agatha Christie Young People’s Mystery Writing Contest. Afraid I’m a bit swamped, my friend. All the best. 

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        The Appealing Appeal

DATE:             22 August, at 5:32

TO:                  JJ

Gosh, all those other events sound really fun, and that’s why I want to relieve you of the stress by taking over the hard work myself. Anything to spread the word about this modern mystery with Golden Age overtones about two law students, Charlotte and Femi, who have been drafted by their professor, Roderick Tanner, QC, to examine all the e-mails, texts, phone messages and sundry assorted documents connected with a recent murder. As they become acquainted with the people and circumstances of the case, their task becomes more specific: solve the case, unveil the guilty party and protect the innocent.

It also becomes more complex, as the cast of characters grows (whew! I’m glad they provided THREE lists of characters, one of them containing EIGHTY-TWO names!! I have to admit I checked the lists quite a few times!!!) and the plot unfolds: secrets come bubbling to the surface, and everyone’s thoughts and actions become suspect. Didn’t you just love it??? With love, from Brad xxx

FROM:            James Edgerton Noy

SUBJECT:        

DATE:             22 August, at 16:15

TO:                  Bradley Friedman

I already wrote how much I loved it in MY OWN BLOG!! Dude, please drop this. I have a lot of lesson planning to do for September 1. Oh, look, Caroline Crampton’s on the phone. Must dash. All the best.

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        Book Recommendation

DATE:             22 August, at 11:57

TO:                  Surreal Biggerstaff

Have you gotten any further in your reading? I wanted to let you know that my friend Jim, who hosts a podcast all about mysteries, has written to me begging to do an episode (or maybe even two!!) about our mutual love of The Appeal. Jim and I really are kindred spirits when it comes to mysteries, even though sometimes I have to steer him away from boring authors like Freeman Wills Crofts. Jim really liked his books until I made it clear that they’re boring. He also didn’t like Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table for a while, but after we talked about it on his podcast (available internationally now), he really heard what I had to say and completely changed his mind. 

We’re going to talk all about the book on this episode. Like, all about how I really love the way Janice Hallett manages through the e-mails to create a dozen or so fascinating characters. (I would like to nominate Issy Beck as the greatest character of any mystery novel to appear this year.) Although this is her first novel, I understand Hallett has written screenplays and dramatic plays; that must be where she gets her great comic timing. Hallett made me laugh out loud again and again, even as absolutely terrible things were happening. Part of this has to do with her spot-on depiction of an overly insular theatre company within a similarly narrow-minded suburban community. Remember all the crazy things that happened to you and me when we did theatre together in college? Gosh, some of those things you did would make for a great mystery too, don’t you think??? Wow!! Brainstorm!!! It’s like an icy popsicle has hit my brain! I’ll have to think about this. With love, from Brad xxx

FROM:            Vera Altmann, Senior Partner, Altmann, Fortunato and Soames 

SUBJECT:        Cease and Desist

DATE:             23 August, at 1:47

TO:                  Bradley Freeman

On behalf of our client, Ms. Surreal Biggerstaff, we are writing this warning that you must, from this moment forward, halt all correspondence with the complainant. Furthermore, should you attempt to fictionalize any shared past experiences from the U.C. Berkeley Drama Department covering the years 1973 – 1977, we will issue a suit and attempt full restitution for any damage to Ms. Biggerstaff’s reputation or peace of mind that your blatant disregard for her privacy should cause.

FROM:            Bradley Friedman

SUBJECT:        Book Recommendation

DATE:             23 August, at 3:22

TO:                  Surreal Biggerstaff

Dear Ms. Altmann, have no fear. I won’t be writing any sort of book about the things Surreal and I got up to in college. She didn’t do any of the interesting stuff anyway. That was all me. But even so, I wouldn’t consider my hijinks, hilarious though they were, to match the humor and plot twists of Janice Hallett’s new book The Appeal. Did Surreal tell you about it? She was so grateful that I recommended it to her. There are clues galore and surprises aplenty to be found in what I hope is the first of many mysteries from this author. As my favorite character, Issy Beck, would say, “It all ended too quickly (boo)! Let’s do it again soon, Janice, and then we will indeed be best friends forever!!!!! 

You sound like a smart cookie, Ms Altmann! I think you might like the book. And after reading it, you might want to listen to the series of podcasts I’ll be doing with my best friend JJ. We’re going to be taping it live at an event called The Two Tonys, which JJ and I will be co-hosting. Then we’re going to talk about it with Caroline Crampton and some guys from Australia. It’s gonna be great!!  I can’t wait to hear what you think. With much love, Brad xxxx”

13 thoughts on “REGARDING THE APPEAL

      1. Oh I think it’s a marvellous review and very much in the spirit of the book! I suspect the author will be thrilled. What a brilliant book, as well. It works so well and weaves the narrative in a perfect way.
        There are moments of perfect dry humour. Fabulous murder mystery. I utterly loved it.

        Like

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