Private investigator to the stars Riley Fitzhugh finds himself caught up in the case of a missing Hollywood beauty - and a stolen Monet - in a 1930s hard-boiled caper as deadly as it is delightful.
Hollywood, 1934. Prohibition is finally over, but there is still plenty of crime for an ambitious young private eye to investigate. Though he has a slightly checkered past, Riley Fitzhugh is well connected in the film industry and is hired by a major producer - whose lovely girlfriend has disappeared. He is also hired to recover a stolen Monet, a crime that results in two murders... with more to come. Along the way Riley investigates the gambling ships anchored off LA, gets involved with the girlfriend of the gangster running one of the ships, disposes of the body of a would-be actor who assaults Riley's girlfriend, and meets an elegant English art history professor from UCLA who helps him authenticate several paintings. Living at the Garden of Allah Hotel, Riley meets and assists many Hollywood screenwriters who frequent the hotel bar. Incidentally one of these gents, whose nom de plume is Hobey Baker, might actually be F. Scott Fitzgerald.
©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audiobooks
If Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler were the true writers of hard-boiled noir detective stories, this is a soft-boiled noir light.
The heart of the story is about a Monet painting. Is it really stolen? Is it a forgery? The art angle is central, but the story also deals with the movie industry of the times (think "casting couch") and literature. A couple of murders is thrown in, but no real tension or suspense is felt. The whole book has an intellectual feel to it. Tons of literary references and quotes from Shakespeare, poets and philosophers. Looking for action and excitement? Look elsewhere.
The protagonist is an intellectual sort of gumshoe ("I read a lot") that takes the soft approach to sleuthing. No gunplay, no fighting, you get the idea. What he does is talk, a lot! He also does a lot of sleeping around with most of the women in the story. The exception is his secretary Della. His daily banter with her is great fun. Most other female characters are dealt with more or less as sex objects for the "hero".
The writing is technically good. Just not very engaging. Some chuckles here and there, but I never really got caught up in the story.
Narration is good.
Perhaps. But I would have to consider long and hard before picking one up.
Get an editor that would remove the repetitiveness of the dialogue and story.How many times to we have to hear about his undercover work in Youngstown?How many brassy (but gorgeous) women can he bed?The dialogue is cartoonish. I have not "researched" but the book seems to abound with anachronisms.
no -- his attempt to voice the protagonist as a cynical, smart guy made me cringe. I found it creepy.
It seemed to have promise but fizzled on plot and characters.
I loved the main character's role as a 1930s con with character. Tone and story in the vein of Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade. Fun irreverent women characters who spoke from their inner self rather than a public facade. Also this reader brought the story to life.
Loved the old time feel of the book. the narrator did an amazing job capturing the characters and the time period. Looking for more with this author and narrator.
The book is well read by Tony Pasqualini and, aside from the tedious sexual conquests of the protagonists, the story is rather intriguing. Using a rather burlesque dark humour and witty dialogue rather than a clever and complex plot it is rather obvious but slowpaced and entertaining none the less.
This book is a fun read/listen and the narrator gives an exceptional performance. While entertaining, it isn't the kind of book you would put on any top 100 list.
It falls into the "cozy mystery" category, I guess, but it transcends the genre. Superbly written.
Our main character, Bruno, is witty, amoral, insightful and just plain fun.
I have not listened to anything else by Pasqualini, but he was terrific. One of the best I've ever heard. I imagine he could give Rich Little a run for his money.
Laugh on every page.
English major? You'll love it. Lots of literary jokes all the way through.
This is set back in the thirties - very traditional Hollywood mystery with a PI. If that's what you enjoy, great. Personally I found the cliches and old lines and stereotypes too much. I almost made it through but not quite.
Love these old fashioned detective stories. This was moving right along. The old Hollywood starlets and wanna be 's, their clothing or lack of, and the "mob" made for great reading! The reader was also exceptional.
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