Ex-policeman Tom Collins is down on his luck after being let
go from his job following the arrest of “Fatty”
Arbuckle. Going it alone as a PI, he gets hired by studio
owner Mack Sennett to look into the sudden death of movie
director William Desmond Taylor. Tom has to navigate the murky
waters of Hollywood to discover whodunit, a more disturbing
business than he expects.
If you are a fan of classic noir detective fiction, this debut
novel will plunge you into the world of guns, goons, gangsters
and gumshoes. Hapless PI Tom Collins gets more than he bargained
for as he tries to unravel the real-life murder of Taylor.
This is still an unsolved mystery so don’t expect any
new revelations, just the imagination of the author. O’Donovan
ably conjures up the heady days of the early film industry,
a place where decadence and violence underpins the façade
of fun and glamour. This is the age of Prohibition, where
gangsters run speakeasies and supply drugs, and where the
recent scandal surrounding the Arbuckle murder case has changed
Everybody connected with the film industry
is worried about losing their jobs if they are connected with
more crime. People in more religious parts of the country
campaign to get Hollywood shut down, or at least cleaned up.
Into this mix Tom has to discover who killed Taylor and not
get himself murdered. It makes for an exciting novel that
will appeal to anybody interested in the early years of cinema;
some basic knowledge of the era is ideal and adds a dimension
to your enjoyment of the story. Famous stars such as Douglas
Fairbanks and Mabel Normand make a brief appearance, and the
whole tale gives one possible reason for the murder. An interesting
new series for early film buffs.