Amid preparations for Patty Drury's movie premiere and her 1944 high school graduation, the F.B.I. zeroes in on a Nazi counterfeiting operation then asks Tony Del Plato for assistance. It all becomes layer upon conflicting layer of wartime intrigue played out on the streets of a small American town with help from New Jersey gangsters and topped off by a substantial touch of Hollywood gloss.
The counterfeiting premise revolves around gas-rationing coupons and was inspired by a vintage article Dandola read about East Coast municipal and state level politicians getting embroiled in such things during the Second World War. Since politicians are not the author's favorite group of people, it sparked the beginnings of a story.
Dandola reveals: "The funny offshoot of it all is that during the writing of this novel, a West Orange politician accused me of making up my family history. He didn't thank me for how well I recreated the town during the 1940's. He didn't publicly acknowledge all I've done for the town in every possible way over the years. He just out-and-out chastised me claiming I was lying about my family."
How could such an accusation be made?
Dandola explains: "It seems that just because I named and physically patterned my hero after my grandfather, the moronic politician couldn't grasp that a novel is fiction—a fully acknowledged made-up story—and not an actual personal history. This is why I've always said that people should have to pass an I.Q. test before they are allowed to run for office. Thankfully, that politician is now no longer in office. He made the decision not to run again as talk of investigations into his tenure began picking up steam. It's always the same with these guys. Like those before him, he will most likely move out of town after all the damage he did. But as a result of his insulting stupidity, he became the basis for a character in the novel. He didn't realize how much I knew about him."
The lesson? An author will always have the last word.
Dead During Intermission is published by Compass Point Mysteries, an imprint of the Quincannon Publishing Group. It is 298 pages and priced at $16.95.
To purchase directly from the publisher, e-mail Sales@QuincannonGroup.com. It is not available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble due to the deep discounts they demand of independent publishers.
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For an explanation of how Dead During Intermission ties to the previous Dead by Happenstance,
Both the image & text are Copyright © 2023 by John Dandola, Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Tenth Tony Del Plato Mystery Novel
Dead During Intermission is the tenth Tony Del Plato mystery novel set in the author's hometown of West Orange, New Jersey, during World War II. By the 1940's, author John Dandola's family had been ensconced in that town for nearly two hundred years. It was a time when families stayed in place for generation after generation and everybody knew one other. Dandola captures that flavor along with the very look and feel of the town in each novel. Alas, the town has changed so drastically over the past forty years that its origins are now competely unrecognizable.
As Dandola puts it: "The town has now devolved into a disjointed place where people move in and just as quickly move out. There's no longer any sense of roots. They just make up or misinterpret the local history to suit their present-day needs and you're only praised, ignored, or damned by how you display your politics not by your accomplishments. I write about a time when that wasn't the case and the town was much happier and much more unified."
This tenth novel continues to follow the series' protagonist, Tony Del Plato. Through Tony's investigative work for Paramount Pictures, his rather adventurous surrogate daughter, Patty Drury, has inspired a string of B-movies made by that studio. The first movie is slated to premiere in town just before Patty's high school graduation. Of course, there are outside complications.