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The Poet's Funeral    by John M. Daniel order for
Poet's Funeral
by John M. Daniel
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Poet's Funeral is a gala mix of fictional and factual characters. And what characters they are! John Daniel appears to be able to take all the good - and bad - of the human condition and mold it into viable characters who seem to leap off the page.

Guy Mallon is attending an American Booksellers Association Convention in Las Vegas with his girlfriend Carol Murphy. He is a small-press publisher and she runs the business for him. They are there to promote the books he publishes. Enter a set of characters who are out for blood or ink, as the case may be. Publicists are trying to steal new clients. Writers are looking for a new publisher or any publisher. The background scenes at the convention are wonderfully (if not accurately) written.

A poet of note is found dead in Elvis Presley's king-sized bed at a party at the Elvis Mansion. The Poet's Funeral is ostensibly a tribute to the dead poet, conducted and contributed to by those who knew her best. That is not to say they loved her. Just knew her. The clamor surrounding her death seems minor compared to the schemes of those trying to capitalize on it. This is a very cleverly written story with a plot that winds and wriggles through the world of publishing, name dropping all the way. A fun read.

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