Mystery, History, and the Joy of Fiction
by Julia Buckley
John Dandola's Dead By All Appearanes is a continuation of his series with 1940's detective Tony Del Plato and M.G.M. publicity girl Edie Koslow. Dandola has also woven in some real people, like Jack Benny and the lovely Marjorie Reynolds, who starred with Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn. Remember her?
In the foreword of his mystery, Dandola explains his interest in Reynolds, whose career never took off the way that it should have, given her talent and beauty. But, as Dandola points out, in fiction we can do anything we wish, and he wishes to give Marjorie Reynolds more time on stage: "On this, the sixty-fifth anniversary of Holiday Inn, I present Marjorie Reynolds as a character in a mystery novel. Perhaps, it will bring about some rekindled awareness of her career."
I love the notion that an author can go back, pick out an interesting part of history, and explore it fictionally. The popularity of historical mysteries tells me that I'm not alone in liking that idea.
What I think: 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.
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Poe's Deadly Daughters
A Blog for Mystery Lovers
Sunday, November 18, 2007.
Marjorie Reynolds out of the snow so prevalent in Holiday Inn.