Where the Truth Lies. By Rupert Holmes. Random House.
$24.95. 388 pages.
The verdict: A funny, sexy , suspenseful romp through show
biz in the '70s.
Mention Rupert Holmes' name at a party and you get nothing
but blank stares. If you say he's the guy who wrote and sang
"Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," everyone instantly remembers
the 1979 tune, if not the author.
And that has been Holmes' problem throughout his career.
Most people know the work --- he won three Tonys for "The
Mystery of Edwin Drood," an Edgar for his play "Accomplice"
and an Emmy for the TV series "Remember WENN" --- but not the
That may change somewhat with his debut novel, "Where the
Truth Lies." Director Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") is
already working on the film version of Holmes' entertaining
murder mystery about a young journalist who is writing a book
about a famous comedy team of the 1950s and '60s: Lanny Morris
is the goofy one and Vince Collins is the dark, handsome
crooner. And any resemblance to Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin is
Set in the 1970s, the story follows K. O'Connor as she
attempts to piece together the lives of the comedy team and
the reason for its sudden breakup. Fictional characters
collide with real showbiz people as Holmes deftly re-creates
the smoky, seductive mood of the disco decade. His breezy,
witty prose perfectly captures an era when style meant more
than substance, airlines served gourmet in-flight meals, and
charity telethons were the only reality shows on TV:
In past years, it had turned out that our very best ratings
came in the last hours of the polio telethon. It was the same
thing that brings people to sports car races. In this case,
Vince and I were the sports cars, and the audience tuned in
hoping one of us would crash.
As O'Connor digs deeper into the relationship between the
celebrity couple, she uncovers a secret that Morris and
Collins would rather remain buried: Did the duo's breakup have
anything to do with a young woman found dead in their room in
a mob-owned New Jersey casino following one of their
Most of the novel is as delectable as a meal in first class
and as exhilarating as O'Connor's wild ride with Vince Collins
through Disneyland. Only at the end, when Holmes sets up a
scene between O'Connor and the killer to explain the murder,
does the plot take a wrong turn. But that's a minor quibble.
O'Connor's many adventures and her steamy encounter with the
theme park's Alice in Wonderland are well worth the price of
Don O'Briant, author of "Backroad Buffets & Country
Cafes: A Southern Guide to Meat-and-Threes & Down-Home
Dining," is a features writer for The Atlanta