Looking for Garbo

Written by Jon James Miller
Review by Monica E. Spence

1939: Greta Garbo may be the Queen of the Silver Screen, but she is very private. Reporters looking for an elusive story track her every move and hound her, no matter where she is, or what she is doing. Seth Mosley is an ambitious Associated Press reporter who scooped his rivals in the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping, and the Hindenburg and the S.S. Morro Castle disasters. But his greatest scoop could be a candid photo of Greta Garbo that he can sell for big bucks —if he can dodge gangsters Toes and Bernie, who are out to hurt him bad for an overdue debt to their boss.

2000: James Main is a fledgling filmmaker working on a documentary about Garbo. He places an ad looking for anyone who can give him firsthand information on her. Seth, now in his 90s, is dying of emphysema and wants to close his career with a bang. Would James want to hear the story about how and why Garbo left Hollywood at the height of her reign? The story of how she was plagued by her most obsessive fan, Adolf Hitler? How she planned to stop the outbreak of World War II? At first James thinks this is a hoax, but the more he listens to Mosley he becomes convinced that the story is true.

I loved this novel, which is based on a prizewinning screenplay by the author. The characters are well-rounded and believable; the plot combines romance and a hard-boiled detective story. Looking for Garbo will keep the reader enthralled to its very satisfying conclusion.