Actress Marjorie Reynolds Returns as a Character


PRLog (Press Release)– January 31, 2012– John Dandola's newest mystery novel, Dead in Small Doses, is one in his 1940's Hollywood series which will surely generate fond memories among older readers and teach younger readers about how movies were made during Hollywood's Studio System.

The author's Dead series got its start due to the late Orson Welles. Just out of college, Dandola was asked to tag along with a friend who was doing a radio interview with Welles. Dandola's reason for being there was that he not only had a film degree but he was a film afficionado who could hopefully keep things on track and stop the radio interviewer (an unabashed Welles fan) from making a fool of himself. The radio interviewer still succeeded in making a fool of himself so Welles shifted the conversation and became intrigued by Dandola's roots in that his maternal grandfather had worked as
a personal messenger boy to Thomas Edison. Welles urged him to
somehow explore that connection creatively.

Years later, during a screenwriters' strike, Dandola did just that in
writing Dead at the Box Office, a mystery novel set against the
backdrop of the actual 1940 Edison, the Man World Premiere
which took place in his hometown of West Orange, New Jersey,
where Edison lived and worked for the last fifty years of his life.

Dandola's protagonist is the local barber (with a very dark past)
who is teamed with an M.G.M. publicity girl to solve a series of
murders which threaten to prevent the premiere from even taking
place. The barber is based upon and named for his grandfather.
But how did he come upon using a publicity girl as his female lead?

The author's answer is as practical as it is inspired: "Those glorious
stone-litho movie posters were as much a part of old movies as the
moviesthemselves. The publicity and its fabrication have always
fascinated me. It just seemed that a publicity girl would be the best
foil and because she would be in on all the details and all the
gimmicks, it would give a glimpse behind that touch of absurdity
which coats everything Hollywood. And after the first novel, it's been
a creative challenge to invent plausible reasons for M.G.M. to mingle
with Broadway and then with Paramount Pictures."

Thus far, the two characters have worked their way through three mystery novels all with a Hollywood-outside-of-Hollywood hook. The third novel, Dead by All Appearances, introduced Paramount actress Marjorie Reynolds into the murder mix as she does a remote radio broadcast during a War Bond Tour connected with her breakout role in Holiday Inn.

In the newest novel, Dead in Small Doses, Miss Reynolds supplants the M.G.M. publicity girl as the female sidekick.

"When writing a series, continuity is everything so my publicity girl is in the background of this one," Dandola said. "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."

The synopsis:

Dead in Small Doses is published by Compass Point Mysteries (435 pages, $16.95) and is available through the publisher's web site at

John Dandola is a member of the Mystery Writers of America for his novels; the Writers Guild of America for his screenplays; and the Dramatists Guild of America for his plays.

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Copyright © 2012 by The Quincannon Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
Author John Dandola Debuts
Dead in Small Doses
His Newest Mystery Novel Set During 1943
On the cover is the
Caribbean Great House
which serves as one of the novel's locales.
In the spring of 1943, 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.