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On a sultry afternoon in the summer of 1936 a woman accidentally interrupts an attempted murder in a London hotel room. Nina Land, a West End actress, faces a dilemma: she’s not supposed to be at the hotel in the first place, and certainly not with a married man. But once it becomes apparent that she may have seen the face of the man the newspapers have dubbed ‘the Tie-Pin Killer’ she realises that another woman's life could be at stake.


Jimmy Erskine is the raffish doyen of theatre critics who fears that his star is fading: age and drink are catching up with him, and in his late-night escapades with young men he walks a tightrope that may snap at any moment. He has depended for years on his loyal and longsuffering secretary Tom, who has a secret of his own to protect. Tom’s chance encounter with Madeleine Farewell, a lost young woman haunted by premonitions of catastrophe, closes the circle: it was Madeleine who narrowly escaped the killer’s stranglehold that afternoon, and now walks the streets in terror of his finding her again.


Curtain Call is a comedy of manners, and a tragedy of mistaken intentions. From the glittering murk of Soho’s demi-monde to the grease paint and ghost-lights of theatreland, the story plunges on through smoky clubrooms, tawdry hotels and drag balls towards a denouement in which two women are stalked by the same killer. As bracing as a cold Martini and as bright as a new tie-pin, it is a poignant and gripping story about love and death and a society dancing towards the abyss.

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Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1964.

From 1998 to 2013 he was the film critic for the Independent. He is the author of six novels: The Rescue Man, which won the 2009 Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award; Half of the Human Race; The Streets, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Walter Scott Prize; Curtain Call, which was chosen for Waterstones and Mail on Sunday Book Clubs; Freya, a Radio 2 Book Club choice, and Eureka.

» See more books by Anthony Quinn

Professionally Packed

All of our books that a have dust wrapper are covered in clear protective, removable film and are packed professionally in bubble wrap and a box for shipping so that they reach you in perfect condition.