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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

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

A very tidy little murder mystery that doesn’t take too long to get through. The author paints compelling pictures from the bleakness and filth of under class Midlands to the turmoil of New York. There are good characters and the central character interesting enough. The plot unravels tantalisingly

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

No cinemas, no murder, just cheesy melodrama as only Oppenheim could write. If you find the going slow, just read the dialog.

I did read this before, and I enjoyed reading it all over again. I think this book is a little different from Oppenheim's usual type, but it is just as mysterious and suspenseful. I love the way things turn out in the end!

This one is a little different from the other Oppenheim books I've read. No spies here, just a normal guy who loses it and does something that is terrible but seems to bring him everything he ever wanted (except a clear conscience). I liked how the complications kept piling up, and how all the time

I rated this highly because the writing is often extremely good--good enough to win me over despite an entirely-unsympathetic main character and his love interest. This is a novel of unpleasant people and suspense, where the reader can't quite bring themselves to root for the protagonist, but can'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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