The Deadly Joke by Hugh Pentecost

The Deadly Joke by Hugh Pentecost

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A prank outside the Beaumont Hotel goes haywire, and an assassin kills the wrong man

Political fundraisers can be cynical and coarse when they’re among their own kind, and Pierre Chambrun, manager of the elegant Beaumont Hotel, prefers not to let them through his doors. But when his friend Douglas Maxwell, a hard-nosed senatorial candidate, asks to host a thousand-dollar-a-plate dinner in the Beaumont’s famous ballroom, Chambrun cannot refuse. The fundraiser has just begun when bad taste rears its ugly head, and Maxwell steps out of his limousine smiling, waving, and wearing no pants. The crowd roars with laughter until the pantsless man falls to his knees, shot dead.

Less than half an hour later, Maxwell appears in Chambrun’s office, very much alive. The dead man was his cousin, a lookalike who came to New York to play a prank, and caught a bullet in return. Chambrun must find the gunman to save his friend and spare the Beaumont a second killing—because murder is the ultimate faux pas.


“Pentecost [is] a real pro. . . . A lively package.” - New York Times

“A certain hand, and a crafty mind. . . . Ingenious.” - New Yorker

“The Hotel Beaumont is where I shall go if I die in a state of grace.” - Anthony Boucher

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