By Loren D. Estleman
(Forge Books, Hardcover, 9780765315762, 272pp.)
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
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The second wacky comedic murder romp for Hollywood film detective Valentino
Valentino wants to keep The Oracle, his beloved run-down movie palace, from being condemned before it even reopens, but murder keeps intruding into his otherwise quiet life. At a gala party held in memory of screen legend Greta Garbo, he’s having fun until the host, a hotshot developer named Matthew Rankin, tells Valentino about a certain letter from Garbo to his late wife. She and Garbo had been…close.
Such a letter is of great interest to a film archivist like Valentino, but the the plot thickens when Rankin tells Val that his assistant, Akers, is using this letter to blackmail him. Val is appalled by the thought of blackmail…but that letter sounds juicier all the time. Returning to Rankin’s mansion after the party, Val finds Rankin sitting at his desk with a pistol in his hand, looking at Akers’s dead body on the floor.
Valentino’s in a quandary. He’d love to see that letter, but he can’t. He’s gotten his girlfriend—who works for the police—in trouble, so his love life is, pardon the expression, shot to hell. Worse yet, the building inspector has kicked him out of his unfinished living space in the Oracle, so he takes his life in his hands and moves in with his eccentric mentor, the elderly, insomniac Professor Broadhead. No love, no sleep, no letter—life isn’t fair!
LOREN D. ESTLEMAN has written more than sixty novels, including Frames, Gas City, and American Detective. His work has earned him four Shamus Awards, five Spur Awards, and three Western Heritage Awards. He lives in Michigan with his wife, author Deborah Morgan.