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The Murder Game

By Steve Lyons

Book review by Paul Scoones

Steve Lyons has written some innovative and entertaining fiction, but in this novel he seems to suffer from a belief that afflicts several Doctor Who novelists, namely that the story should correspond as closely as possible to the style of the era in which it is supposed to be set. The result is a cast of two-dimensional characters under siege in a closed environment, with absurdly costumed monsters whose appearance is held back until the latter half of the adventure.

The story begins as a tale about a real murder, taking place during a weekend 'murder mystery' live role-playing game aboard a space station. The Second Doctor, Ben and Polly are accepted in to the group and assigned characters, which in the Doctor's case is a female - and it is disturbingly easy to picture Troughton's Doctor revelling in drag!.

The first half of the book is rather slow and seems to owe a lot to Agatha Christie in its setting up of characters as murder suspects. Fortunately, the pace picks up considerably in the second half, with the arrival on the scene of the Selachians, and the action in the closing chapters is positively gripping, which in part redeems the novel's earlier turgidity but also led me to wonder momentarily if I'd somehow switched books! [2/5]

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).

Index nodes: The Murder Game