The 1921 rape/manslaughter trial of silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle provides the gritty backdrop for Atkins's outstanding crime novel, in which Dashiell Hammett, then a Pinkerton operative living in San Francisco, plays a significant role. A wild party Arbuckle throws at San Francisco's posh St. Francis Hotel results in tragedy after an actress, Virginia Rappe, is mysteriously injured and later dies. As the author explains in a "behind the story" introduction, the future creator of Sam Spade was actually assigned to help the defense on the Arbuckle case. With enviable ease, Atkins (Wicked City) brings to life Hammett, Arbuckle, William Randolph Hearst and other real figures of the period. Those familiar with the historical case will be impressed by how well the book meshes fact and fiction. Genre fans who enjoy the grim realism of James Ellroy's post-WWII Los Angeles will find a lot to like in Atkins's Prohibition-era San Francisco. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Devil's Gardenby Ace Atkins
"San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel: girls, jazz, bootleg hooch...and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her - crushing her under his weight - and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph… See more details below
"San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel: girls, jazz, bootleg hooch...and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her - crushing her under his weight - and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict. But what really happened? Why do so many people at the party seem to have stories that conflict? Why is the prosecution hiding witnesses? Why are there body parts missing from the autopsied corpse? Why is Hearst so determined to see Fatty Arbuckle convicted?" In desperation, Arbuckle's defense team hires a Pinkerton agent to do an investigation of his own and, they hope, discover the truth. The agent's name is Dashiell Hammett, and he's the book's narrator. What he discovers will change American legal history - and his own life - forever.
In September 1921, silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was tried for the murder of budding actress Virginia Rappe after a wild, boozy bash at a San Francisco hotel. The case was particularly notorious because William Randolph Hearst unleashed the full force of his media empire on it, allegedly tainting evidence and claiming Arbuckle crushed Rappe under his immense weight. A key private investigator for Arbuckle was none other than a young Pinkerton agent named Sam Dashiell Hammett, who turned up much more than a botched police investigation and an unethical autopsy. On the margin of the case was a web of Hollywood intrigue and corruption worthy of its own scandal, fueled by the looming demise of the silent film and Hearst's desire to preserve mistress Marian Davies's acting career. Atkins's (Wicked City) latest noir historical thriller showcases one of the most infamous Hollywood murder trials with a compelling style and a deft blend of fact and fiction. Sure to appeal to Hollywood buffs and mystery readers alike, this is recommended for popular fiction collections.
Susan Clifford Braun
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.24(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.24(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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