Mystery Novels
by John Dandola



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• Dead at the Box Office
An Edie Koslow-Tony Del Plato Mystery

In 1940, Hollywood decided to pay homage to a small New Jersey town. It was where Thomas Alva Edison had lived and worked for nearly fifty years, ultimately making it the birthplace of motion pictures.

What better place to hold the World Premiere of Spencer Tracy's Edison, the Man? The idea seemed not only flawless but guaranteed to generate terrific press—until a series of sexual murders breaks out a week before the festivities are scheduled to begin.

Already straddled with the ever-reticent Spencer Tracy and overly exuberant starlet Ann Rutherford, M.G.M. publicity girl Edie Koslow is forced to reluctantly hush the crimes and then just as reluctantly solve them in the midst of studio manipulations and small town politics with only the help and protection of a local mystery man.

"An ironically funny picture of the differences between west coast film executives and [an] east coast residential community...It is these ironic ideas, the reality of the period, and the discrepancies in fact that create humor in the retelling."
—The Essex Journal

"Dandola infuses a sense of humor about movie-making and the glamour and glitz associated with Hollywood."
—The Star-Ledger

• Dead in Their Sights
An Edie Koslow-Tony Del Plato Mystery

Set in 1942, two years after the Edison, the Man debacle which first introduced her to readers, M.G.M. publicity girl Edie Koslow is reassigned to the studio's Manhattan offices. Thanks to her mentor, M.G.M. East Coast Publicity Chief Howard Dietz, a simple favor to help promote a new Broadway ingenue once again lands Edie in the middle of small town New Jersey politics and murder.

With circumstances set in motion by legendary producer George Abbott and actress Joan Caulfield, Edie's run-of-the-mill assignment eventually becomes complicated by Thomas Edison's sons, Nazi saboteurs, British Military Intelligence, the I.R.A., the F.B.I., and entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan.

In the ensuing mayhem, Edie's disquieting relationship with Tony Del Plato is also put to the test.

"Edie Koslow and Tony Del Plato reteam in this sequel to Dead at the Box Office. Although darker than their first outing, Dandola's affable writing style and his extraordinary grasp of time, place, and subject matter still gives the reader a wonderfully perceptive inside-out view of movie studios and small town politics."
—International Titles

"[With] a great deal of research to ensure historical accuracy...Dandola has certainly carved out a place for himself as a regionalist writer; perhaps [West Orange's] first."
—Suburban Essex Magazine

"History and mystery merge in West Orange and many are the familiar figures in this story set in 1942 about World War II rumors centering on the Edison factory..."
—'Jersey Ink,' The Star-Ledger

"[Dandola's] roots in the area enable him to fill his mysteries with so much local color and detail that even readers unfamiliar with the town can create vivid pictures of it in their minds....One can almost hear the Irish, English, and Norwegian accents as the characters come to life."
—Seton Hall Magazine

• Dead by All Appearances
An Edie Koslow-Tony Del Plato Mystery

When Teddy Edison, youngest son of the late Thomas Alva Edison, asks Tony Del Plato to investigate some odd occurrences at the castle laboratory of millionaire inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr., it is a request more for Tony's much needed change of scenery than out of any real necessity. While leaving West Orange, New Jersey, might prove to be therapeutic following the recent events in Tony's life, little could anyone foresee that this forced vacation on the restful and beautifully rocky coastline of Massachusetts would ultimately involve local gangsters, murder, and espionage.

Adding to the confusion is a scheduled remote radio broadcast from the castle not to mention an unexpected rivalry between M.G.M. publicity girl Edie Koslow and Paramount actress Marjorie Reynolds, who is visiting after a War Bond tour in Boston to promote her new film, Holiday Inn.

"Well-written by American author John Dandola, these thrillers unveil an odd and novel pair of amateur detectives: a movie publicity girl and a barber, who is one authentic and intriguing Italian-American."
—Giornale di Sicilia

"Through movie publicist Edie Koslow and local barber Tony Del Plato, whose mysterious skills go well beyond hairstyling, Dandola presents Edison family history, small-town politics, and Tinsel Town gossip of the period and melds them seamlessly."
—Mystery Scene Magazine 

• Dead in Small Doses
A Tony Del Plato Mystery

In the spring of 1943, through his Edison family connections, West Orange resident Tony Del Plato gets a surprising assignment when Paramount Pictures decides to make one of its Popular Science movie shorts about inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. Filming will take place not only at Hammond's grandiose castle-home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but also aboard his yacht on a trip to the Caribbean. Tony's job: bodyguard to actress Marjorie Reynolds, who suggested the movie and will be featured in it.

Throughout the course of the novel, Tony reveals some of his mysterious background through a trio of stories about his tutoring by Thomas Edison, his solving of an actual New Jersey cold case from the 1880's, and his association with notorious New Jersey gangster Abner "Longy" Zwillman. But those stories aside, filming on location also manages to embroil Tony and Marjorie in a Caribbean murder.

"A unique blend of history, mystery, and nostalgia with the mood of a 1940's film. Clever casting, sharp period dialogue, and memorable scenic descriptions set a backdrop for an unexpected series of events. Great fun, and blessedly different, this is a book to take into your comfiest chair and enjoy as you would an exciting journey."
—Julia Buckley, author of The Dark Backward and Madeline Mann

Dead by Happenstance
A Tony Del Plato Mystery

As the summer of 1943 begins, M.G.M. publicity chief Howard Dietz brokers a deal for Tony Del Plato to work again with Paramount Pictures. The job comes as a direct request from cinematographer Steve Hardin. Their assignment takes them to the Mayan ruins of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where Hardin is to film second-unit footage for a B-movie. All goes smoothly enough until the actors' stunt-doubles arrive and an inexplicable murder takes place. Once again helping to unravel the motive is Paramount actress Marjorie Reynolds, who had hoped for a vacation simply relaxing and spending time with Tony.

In a parallel story, Patty Drury, the high school girl and history buff who is minding Tony's son back home, helps prove a local legend to be true and earns herself a brush with fame—and crime.

"Dandola not only has a knack for relating the practical nuts-and-bolts methods once used in movie-making but he can also create a very real sense and flavor of any locale at any point in time. Add very real characters in plots which could quite possibly happen and it’s effortless for readers to be
—International Titles

Wind of Time
A Jeffrey Devereaux-Kirsten Eriksson Novel

"In the year 1123, Bishop Eirik went in search of Vinland."

So reads the very terse entry which appears in six different Icelandic annals. Yet no further explanation or resolution is offered leaving the inevitible conclusion that the bishop was never heard from again.

Nearly nine centuries later, teacher and amateur historian Jeffrey Devereaux has a chance meeting with Kirsten Eriksson, the girl of Icelandic heritage who had been his first adolescent crush. When her reading of mystical runestones at a Renaissance Faire finally brings their love to fruition, subsequent visits to Kirsten's home on Cuttyhunk Island, a mysterious stone tower in Newport, Rhode Island, and Hammond Castle Museum on the coast of Massachusetts plunge them into history and carry them from 20th to 12th century New England, where they face the ghosts of Bishop Eirik's lost Norse settlement and their own very personal connections to the past.

"One of those 'you-can't-put-it-down-books'!"
—Salem J. David, No Man's Land Island: History & Legends

"The mysterious cylindrical ruin in Newport's Touro Park is a the center of [this] romantic novel that turns on Viking solve an ancient"
—Providence Journal-Bulletin

"Dandola adds a new slant to the mystery surrounding Newport's Stone Mill Tower."
—Newport Daily News

• Wicked is the Wind
A Jeffrey Devereaux-Kirsten Eriksson Novel

Epiphany, Massachusetts, had been founded by Shakers and rescued from fire by Civil War veterans of the famous 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. The soldiers and their families were invited to settle and, as the Shakers died off, the town developed into a predominent black community.

Unfortunately, such a rich history hasn't prevented present-day Epiphany from becoming the embodiment of municipal turmoil. Its neglected historic buildings are crumbling; its real estate values are plummeting; its merchants are relocating; and its corrupt politicians are squabbling over who's to blame.

Making matters worse, new construction has been halted in a drained tidal marsh when seemingly ancient artifacts are uncovered there. After one of Kirsten Eriksson's friends becomes involved, amateur historian Jeffrey Devereaux is asked to make an inspection of the site. But the political climate and an ensuing murder nearly obliterate Jeffrey's conclusion that the artifacts may actually pre-date Epiphany's founding by centuries—a turn of events which brings his affiliation with Hammond Castle Museum very much into play.

"With colorful characters, great dialogue, and a solid sense of John Dandola places Kirsten Eriksson and Jeffrey Devereaux in a cozy murder mystery employing her psychic tendencies and his passion for history."
—International Titles

• The Unbound Wind
A Jeffrey Devereaux-Kirsten Eriksson Novel

The rock carving in Westford, Massachusetts, had been the subject of debate for a good many years. Romantics claimed it to be the effigy of a medieval knight killed during some pre-Columbian exploration. Detractors claimed it to be partially Native American with whimsical enhancements made by nineteenth-century schoolboys.

After visiting Westford as a favor to a military miniaturist who is researching the carving, Jeffrey Devereaux and Kirsten Eriksson begin experiencing turmoil in their own daily lives.

Things only worsen when the curator of Hammond Castle Museum allows his usual indecisiveness to jeopardize not only their long-standing personal friendship but their future working relationship as well. When a member of the museum's Board of Directors turns up dead after a Renaissance Faire on the castle grounds and another death occurs during a toy show in the castle's Great Hall, Kirsten can't help but wonder about the origin of the Westford effigy and the possibility that all of these misfortunes are somehow connected with it.

"Dandola has created simple, thoughtful, clever layers and crafted them into a deceptively complex whole. History, mystery, humor, and social statement are mixed well with a delightfully odd ghost story."
—International Titles

• A Beckoning Wind
A Jeffrey Devereaux-Kirsten Eriksson Novel

As a teacher, Jeffrey Devereaux is finding his professional life increasingly burdened with tension, friction, and needless bureaucracy. When the incompetent female principal of his grammar school is replaced by an equally incompetent but much more cantankerous male principal, Jeffrey welcomes the chance for a winter-vacation escape to Florida.

What should be a peaceful week of sunshine and relaxation shared with Kirsten Eriksson at her aunt's retreat on the Gulf Coast turns out to be anything but when they become involved with solving a murder which is somehow connected to newly-discovered artifacts dating from contact between local Indians and Conquistadores in the sixteenth century.

Also included is an additional bonus: a never-before-published short story, Whispers Upon the Wind, in which Jeffrey and Kirsten are asked to investigate the mysterious origin of a fresco hidden within Hammond Castle Museum. How and where did the castle's builder obtain it? And was it legal or illegal to import such  European artwork to Gloucester, Massachusetts, even during the freewheeling Roaring Twenties?

"This well-researched novel shows off Dandola's storytelling gift. He entertains us with quirky, eccentric local residents.…fun, believable people who have personalities that really tick…As in past Wind novels, Kirsten has the ‘sight,' which are dreams that relive the past or foresee the future. Dandola has perfected this dream technique and uses it like a movie camera for the reader…"


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