The Lovely Marjorie Reynolds Returns in
John Dandola's Latest Mystery

by Julia Buckley

My mystery-writing friend John Dandola has just released his new title, Dead in Small Doses, and I'm glad to say he's brought back the character of Marjorie Reynolds, a Paramount actress whom people might remember from movies like Holiday Inn, in which she famously sang "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby.

Reynolds pairs up with Dandola's main amateur sleuth, a barber named Tony Del Plato; as in Dandola's previous book, Del Plato helps the eccentric (and real) millionaire, John Hays Hammond, Jr. Why did John borrow Reynolds' real persona as a fictional version of herself? He cites her plentiful charm, and the fact that his story takes place in Old Hollywood:

"The dynamics between characters, just like real people, change over the years. Enter Marjorie Reynolds. From everything I've learned about her through research and interviews, the late Miss Reynolds wasn't just pretty and charming on-screen; she seems to have been a breath of fresh air off-screen. I thoroughly enjoy writing about her. She has become absolutely real on every page she occupies, and she just clicked with the barber character. What's more, the trajectory of her career can easily be understood by anyone in the outside world who has suffered from indifferent bosses and bureaucratic mindsets. That is a tremendously humanizing element in her appeal—even beyond her 1940's movie star looks."

I'm looking forward to reading John's new title; his books are like a journey back to a glamorous Hollywood of yesteryear, but with all the gritty reality of today's crime world.

And by the way, couldn't Katherine Heigl be a double for Marjorie Reynolds if they cast her in a Reynolds bio-pic today?

Copyright © Julia Buckley. All rights reserved.
Mystery Musings
How a Mystery Writer Views the World

Wednesday, February 1, 2012.
'Lovely' certainly is the adjective for
Marjorie Reynolds in this scene from Holiday Inn.