- Title Dead Famous
- Author Ben Elton
- Year 2001
- Genres Mystery, Humour
One house. Ten contestants. Thirty cameras. Forty microphones. Yet again the public gorges its voyeuristic appetite as another group of unknown and unremarkable people submit themselves to the brutal exposure of the televised real-life soap opera, House Arrest. Everybody knows the rules: total strangers are forced to live together while the rest of the country watches them do it. Who will crack first? Who will have sex with whom? Who will the public love and who will they hate? All the usual questions. And then, suddenly, there are some new ones. Who is the murderer? How did he or she manage to kill under the constant gaze of the thirty television cameras? Why did they do it? And who will be next?
I think I might have started reading this before, because it felt very familiar. But I think I got distracted and wanted to write my own Big Brother style book, which never got past 100 words but obviously meant I never went back to the book. I had no idea whodunit and how it was going to end, so it was fascinating to travel through the mystery with the contestants and detectives. The tale dips back and forth between past and present, so you can follow how the contestants entered the house and got to know each other through the prism of how things ended.
Initially you don’t know who was murdered, and by the end you know who it was and why, and all along you get a sense of Elton’s distaste with everything Reality TV and fame-seeking. But if you can put up with the underlying sarcasm, it’s a pretty good read.
Rating: 3 / 5