Tag Archives: J.J. Murphy

You Might As Well Die by J.J. Murphy

You Might As Well Die by J.J. Murphy is the second book in the “Algonquin Round Table” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian (Penguin), December 2011

One must be careful never to pick up a stray piece of paper at the Algonquin Round Table—it might be the check. But when second-rate illustrator Ernie MacGuffin slips Dorothy Parker an envelope, she’s none the wiser. Only later does she discover it’s a suicide note.

It seems MacGuffin has leaped to a watery death from the Brooklyn Bridge. Days later, his artistic works have tripled in value, and he’s become so renowned that Harold Ross at the fledgling magazine “The New Yorker” wants Robert Benchley to write a profile on him.

Somethings smells fishy to Dorothy, though, so she enlists magician and skeptic Harry Houdini to accompany her to a seance being held by self-proclaimed clairvoyant Viola Sweet. There the ghostly voice of Ernie MacGuffin seems hauntingly real—almost as if he could reach out and grab them.

An artist’s death increases the value of his previous work but Dorothy believes there’s more to this and enlist of the help of her friend to find the truth of his death. This was a good read. I’m not a fan of historical mysteries, but this certainly entertained me with its witty dialogue; engaging mystery, and a step back in the heyday of old-New York.

A Day In The Life Of Dorothy Parker by J.J. Murphy

This morning, I woke up and peeked out from beneath a hangover. It had stayed the night, and now it was time for it to go. I gave the hangover two aspirins and a kiss goodbye.

Normally, the first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue. But evidently I forgot to do so this morning—sharpen my tongue, that is—because I was nearly speechless when Ernie MacGuffin, that poor excuse for an artist, came and sat down next to me after lunch.

A quick word about lunch: Every day, I meet a group of writers, editors and critics around a round table in the dining room of the Algonquin Hotel. Manhattan’s brilliant newspapermen have dubbed our group The Algonquin Round Table. Those same newspapermen reprint our witty repartee and caustic comments—but our goal is merely to share a laugh and a bite to eat. It’s the Roaring 20s, and there’s a Prohibition on, so you have to take your fun where you can get it.

(I once found the dead body of a rival drama critic under our famous Round Table. But that, as they say, is another story…)

Where was I? Oh yes. Today Ernie MacGuffin sat himself down and dropped me a note—a suicide note, in fact. I didn’t take him seriously. No one ever does. Of course, I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to my desk job as a writer for Vanity Fair, but all the same I wasn’t much for Ernie’s tomfoolery either. So I shoved the note back at him and suggested he busy himself with his paints and his canvases, and leave the high drama to the actors on Broadway.

Well, the joke’s on me (ha ha!), because that nincompoop MacGuffin went ahead with it! Or at least it seems that’s he did…

Now it’s midnight, and I’m standing by the railing of the Brooklyn Bridge with his suicide note in my hand. And here are his shoes and his unfinished canvas, and the dark East River is silently rippling by a hundred feet below. And a deep, unsettling thought occurs to me…

What in heaven’s name am I doing on a chilly bridge at midnight, when by all rights I should be snug in my favorite speakeasy with a drink in my hand?

And that is my day in a nutshell (which is exactly where it belongs).


Read more about Dorothy Parker (and Ernie MacGuffin) in YOU MIGHT AS WELL DIE, the recently released second book in the Algonquin Round Table Mystery series. The first book in the series is MURDER YOUR DARLINGS.

J.J. Murphy is an award-winning health-care writer in Pennsylvania, and also a lifelong Dorothy Parker fan. After the birth of twin daughters, J.J. started writing the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries as an escape from toddler television. Visit J.J. at http://roundtablemysteries.com and Facebook. Also, go to the contest page to vote on which famous figure should “guest star” in an upcoming book—and enter to win a $25 gift card.

** Thanks to the author, I have one (1) copy of YOU MIGHT AS WELL DIE to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends December 23rd. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

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