A Rhumba in Waltz Time


Los Angeles, 1933: Police detective Chris Blanchard of Hollywood Division is a straight cop for the LAPD who made the mistake of defending a beaten, abused prostitute arrested by not-so-straight crooked cops. The “Blue Wall of Silence” went up when Blanchard couldn’t find the bailed-out lady to testify on her own – and Blanchard’s – behalf. Because she was a low-level starlet, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio had the incident covered up by the studio’s “silent fixer.” Blanchard was “outsted” by the LAPD, and immediately hired for MGM by none other than Mr. Mayer himself as a fixer’s assistant. The conditions for hire were honest, secure, and with lots of pay; Blanchard signed on the dotted line. His first job was immediate. Second-rate, but popular, movie actor Day Covington was murdered. His wife was suspected. Get her off the hook. Then, find the killer. Sounds routine, but this was a drop in the bucket that would launch Chris Blanchard into all the nooks and crannies of the Tinseltown behind the facade of the Silver Screen.

The novel includes enough famous names to fill a year’s lineup of Turner Classic Movies. But behind the story’s star-studded name-dropping is an undulating plot of thugs, crime bosses, and weird but solid characters to keep Chris Blanchard and the reader going until the twists and turns hit upon the final solution. Characters run the gamut of humanity, and hardcore mystery fans will enjoy this lively yarn that winds back to the Golden Age of the movies.

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