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The Cinema Murder

E. Phillips Oppenheim

Book Overview: 

Phillip Romilly is a poor art teacher in London. He finds out that his wealthy cousin Douglas has been seeing his girl friend Beatrice behind his back. He strangles Douglas, throws him in the canal, and assumes his identity. Douglas had booked passage to America for the next day, so after a pleasant sea voyage Phillip arrives at the Waldorf Hotel in New York as Douglas Romilly. An hour after checking in he disappears again, and assumes yet another identity, one that his cousin had set up for himself. Douglas was facing massive financial problems, and he, too, had planned to avoid his problems by getting lost in the crowd in New York.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . to have seen the wireless messages to-day?—those tissue sheets that are stuck up in the library?"

Philip set down the menu, in which he had been taking an unusual interest.

"Yes, I looked through them this afternoon," he acknowledged.

"There's a little one at the bottom, looks as though it had been shoved in at the last moment. I don't know whether you noticed it. It announced the mysterious disappearance of a young man of the same name as your own—an art teacher from London, I think he was. I wondered whether it might have been any relation?"

"I read the message," Philip admitted. "It certainly looks as though it might have referred to my cousin."

Mr. Raymond Greene became almost impressive in his interested earnestness.

"Talk about coincidences!" he continued. "Do you remember last night talking about subjects for cinema plays. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A killer taking the place of his victim is a solid idea for a thriller, but unfortunately the author mishandles it so badly here that the story ends up nothing more than a cliche ridden melodrama, the most bizarre aspect of which is that no one who knows of the crime - and it seems every other chara

It was a pretty good story with a somewhat expected ending. It was not the author's best work; but then he wrote many books and he can't be expected to hit a homerun every time.

An atmospheric opening reveals the main protagonist, Philip Romilly, making his way through a Derbyshire coal mining village, Detton Magna, to see a lady. Things do not turn out as he expected so he wanders disconsolately away.

This meeting is the catalyst for future events that are quite surprising

Oppenheim was the author of the (imo) under-appreciated The Great Impersonation, which I believe deserves to be remade into a movie for the third time.

In the Cinema Murder, he is preoccupied as he was in Impersonation, with dual personality. Implausible as that might be in a movie - but incredibly t

I really enjoyed this one, although I'm not sure the title is entirely accurate -- perhaps it's tongue in cheek. Very well-written. Not impossible to put down, but a pleasure to pick up again.

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