The Gatsby Gameby Anne R. Allen
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This comic novel was inspired by a real unsolved Hollywood mystery--the death in 1973 of David Whiting during the filming of the Burt Reynolds' movie, "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing". Whiting was found dead in the motel room of the married British actress Sarah Miles, which caused a massive media scandal. The cause of Whiting's death was never determined.
Names and places have been changed for this fictional speculation on what might have happened that night.
When smart-mouthed Bryn Mawr freshman Nicky Conway meets Fitzgerald-quoting Alistair at a Princeton mixer in 1969, she falls for his retro, Jazz-Age charm. But she discovers he's a con man obsessed with his own "Daisy"--British actress Delia Kent. After Alistair manipulates Nicky into nannying for Delia's daughter on the set of a Hollywood film, Delia finds Alistair dead in her motel room. Local police can't decide if it's accident, suicide--or murder, in which case, Nicky is the prime suspect
"In The Gatsby Game, Anne R. Allen blends a perfect combination of witty, sharp narration, a plot that won't let the reader go, and nuanced characters that evoke our caring. A genre novel that artfully transcends its genre."...Catherine Ryan Hyde, #1 bestselling author of When I Found You.
"Dark, twisted chick lit with a side of laughter. Plus celebrities, murder and and a smart-mouth nanny." ...Ruth Harris. NYT million-selling author
"The novel is full of wit, humor and sudden reversals of fortune that match the outsized characters."...Kathleen Keena
"I never thought I would have so much fun reading a chick lit novel, but this was great, even for my hardboiled sensibility."... Benoit LeLievre at Dead End Follies
- Anne R. Allen
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Meet the Author
Anne R. Allen is a popular blogger and the author of seven comic novels: THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER and the Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM. She is published by Mark Williams Digital Publishing and Kotu Beach Press.
She's the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE...A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Cambria author Catherine Ryan Hyde, and a collection of short stories and verses WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.
Writer's Digest has named "Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris" one of the "Best 101 Websites for Writers"
Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and in a former life was an actress and stage director. She's the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives in San Luis Obispo, the place Oprah named "the happiest city in the world."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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First, I appreciated how author Anne R. Allen gave credit to the inspiration of her fictional story The Gatsby Game to the mysterious death surrounding British Actress Sarah Miles’ business manager David Whiting. The Gatsby Game is a testament to fiction writers at their best; take a real world event and ask the “what if” question, putting the writer’s own answer to the test. For Ms. Allen, having had a brief personal relationship with David Whiting added spice to the mystery. I picked up this novel because I’d read one of Anne R. Allen’s cozy mysteries (Ghost Writers In The Sky, now the second novel in the box set The Camilla Randall Mysteries), and enjoyed her writing style and the snarkish voice of the narrator. It was quirky, the chic lit feel was underplayed, and the mystery clues were excellently developed. The bit of back-story for The Gatsby Game intrigued me and let me know this would be a different story than Ghost Writers; but it was the narrator’s voice (again) that kept me turning each page. The main character Nicky Conway has a sassy, glass-half-empty outlook that is realistic and hopeful. Nicky’s childhood was a study in tragedy; with a simple apology so many things could have turned out different for this black-sheep heir to the Conway fortune. She is always on the cusp of things working out, and something minor usually happens to spoil the successes. Such was the case when she met suave, ladies man Allistair Melbourne during her first semester in college. Allistair’s romantic gestures border on the creepy/stalker; but his charm, refined manners, impeccable tastes, and a seemingly bottomless funding source are enough to overlook his obvious faults. Allistair’s vulnerability is genuine, however, and just enough of his outrageous stories turn out to be true to give him the benefit of doubt each time they meet. The passage that sealed my sympathies for Allistair, even after he was exposed as a thief and a phony, was in Chapter 12 when he rescues Nicky from an uncaring Christmas at her home: He put an arm around my shoulder and pulled me to him. “We have to help each other survive our abysmal parenting, don’t we?” He understood me. Saw me. We were two of a kind. I had never loved him as much as I loved him at that moment. The novel has a hind-sight quality that consistently reminds the reader that this misguided romantic was likely the instigator of his own death, but also moves the story along at a steady pace. Throughout the reading, the author expertly dropped relevant clues to the suspected cause of Allistair's demise. The clues are integrated in such a way to enhance the character and story plots, so the reader doesn't realize these are hints. But at the end of the story when Nicky is putting everything together, there was no doubt in my mind that her reasoning was valid. All the loose ends were satisfactorily resolved. I was thoroughly entertained by The Gatsby Game. It has all the elements for a good mystery, and would also appeal to readers who enjoy romance in a women’s fiction style. I give the characters, cultural references, story building, and especially the slightly sarcastic narrator voice a 5 star rating. I would definitely read more of Anne R. Allen’s novels.
I loved this book. I love that it is based on an historical event but with a very clever Anne Allen twist. Nicky is one of those characters that you root for, fear for and want desperately to advise. Alister is one of those characters you like, hate, like again hate again... Other crazy folks make their way in and out and through this delightful story. I loved it
I've read Anne Allen's crazily funny stories before, so I knew what to expect from The Gatsby Game. It didn't disappoint. The zany cast of characters were off and running, with Nicki (gotta love her) in the lead, trying to decide whether to love or hate Alistair, her charming but conniving con-man of a lover (sometimes). Mad dashes through weird relationships, luxurious settings, wild adventures and a murder left my thirst for wit and humor and a good story totally slaked.
The Gatsby Game is the third of Anne R. Allen's novels I've had the pleasure to read. Her characters are unique, often quirky, and always wending their ways into and out of trouble. The Gatsby Game is a fully satisfying read packed with Anne Allen's great sense of humor and insight to the human condition.
Beautifully Structured and Outrageously Funny Nicky Conway, Bryn Mawr English Lit graduate employed as a nanny in the summer of 1973, has the real scoop regarding what went down the evening Alistair Milbourne met his fate at the Knight's Rest Motel. She was in the next room watching Mod Squad after tucking Delia Kent's daughter Pandora into bed. Milbourne, a con man of extraordinary talent, has maintained a longstanding association with Nicky, exploiting her affections, family and friends. Although hip to his pretentiousness, Nicky is nevertheless repeatedly enchanted by his audacity and lured by his charm. The novel is full of wit, humor and sudden reversals of fortune matching the outsized characters. Family dysfunction, gratuitous wealth, infidelity, drugs, suicide, chain smoking and fashion mismanagement compete for outrageousness. A beautifully structured, unified and wrapped entity. Kathleen Keena
Everyone's heard of off-Broadway, but leave it up to Anne Allen to create an off-Hollywood.The Gatsby Game gives us quirky, tweaky characters, a fascinating mystery, romance, jealousy, a bit of unbridled lust, feminist activists, the Vietnam War, a mallet-wielding toy xylophone player, sports cars and family secrets, all narrated by a nanny haunted by the insistence that "the nanny did it!" The murder - or is it murder? - involves Hollywood types in a setting about as off-Hollywood as it can be. The Gatsby Game is a great, romping read in a fascinating era, by an author who keeps you laughing as much as she keeps you guessing.