James Murray is a young man with a dream -- he wants to be a writer just like his idol, Dashiell Hammett. He pens his first novel while working as a clerk at a swank downtown department store. He writes his second while working at a famous movie studio turning his first novel into a screenplay. Now, moderately successful, James is hard at work creating his newest adventure.
And his life is perfect -- or nearly so: he's living with the girl he loves, planning to get married, and enjoying a life he once could only dream about. But an innocent outing to Los Angeles's new Griffith Observatory changes all that when a commotion during a presentation leads to a kidnapping. James, witness to the abduction, feels compelled to find out the truth behind it. Why was this person kidnapped? Who was behind it? Why were the abductors speaking in German? And what does Gina Corvi have to do with it?
"Abduction at Griffith Observatory" -- like its predecessors "Sabotage at RKO Studio" and "Murder at Eastern Columbia" -- is unlike any other book you've read: Not a single novel, it's two parallel novels, featuring two heroes, working two mysteries in two different versions of 1930s Los Angeles. Join James and his alter ego as they each try to find the missing person. His hard-boiled alter ego -- neither a private detective nor a police officer: just someone "who wants to help" -- needs to find out why his life is being threatened because of a piece of paper with some numbers on it. Two men in two stories work their way through 1930s Los Angeles following clews, interviewing people who might know something, going from location to location, with one goal in mind: find the person who was kidnapped.
Along the way, they encounter a rich cast of characters including a hate-filled landlady who doesn't like anyone different than she, the nervous director of the observatory, the mysterious black woman who was exiled from the country of her birth, the young page working at the observatory, a gentle cleaning woman who has suffered since the death of her husband, the scientist with a deadly secret, and the girl in the blue pumps who tries to hide the scar on her face like she tries to hide so many other things about herself.
"Abduction at Griffith Observatory" is filled with twists, turns and a final showdown aboard a rusty old freighter moored to a dock at San Pedro harbor.
Come along for the ride in this, the third James Murray mystery: the story of a young man who dreams of something better.
About the Author
In his career, his work has appeared in daily newspapers, monthly magazines, extensively on radio and the occasional dalliance with television. He has written advertising copy and radio commercials – and continues to write.
Prior to his new novel, called “A Cat in Time” about the most famous cat in ancient Japan, Christopher spent more than five years creating a series of novels that take place in 1930s Los Angeles called “The James Murray Mysteries.” Books in the series are "Murder at Eastern Columbia," “Sabotage at RKO Studio,” “Abduction at Griffith Observatory,” “Blackmail at Wrigley Field,” and the newest “Haunting at Ocean House.”
Other writing featuring his byline includes “22: The Biography of a Gun” – a tale set in the near future where guns are strictly controlled yet where one manages to make its way into the hands of those who want it; "The Babi Makers" – a science fiction tale about a world where the most important resource is babies; "Sarah & Gerald" – a novel about Paris in the 1920s; "Forever - and other stories" – a collection of short stories; "The Life Line" – the novel of the big one that levels San Francisco; "News on the Home Front" – a novel of two friends during World War Two; and "Mama Cat" – a book for children. Also, several short plays, a few radio plays and a boatload of radio documentaries.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Third in the James Murray Mystery Series, Christopher McPherson’s Abduction at Griffith Observatory continues the pattern of parallel mysteries set in Depression-era Los Angeles. Young James almost has it made as a writer at last. He’s got a contract and he’s trying his best to meet it. But his fiancée offers repeated distractions, and when he witnesses the kidnapping of a scientist at the newly opened Griffith Observatory, neither novel nor fiancée will get enough of his attention. Blending real-world clues (or “clews”) into his fiction, the aspiring (fictional) author solves two mysteries at once, while the (real) author carries his readers into a beautifully researched, convincing and captivating world, filled with authentic characters, surprising insights, and inspiring locations. “A good writer is always listening, never knowing when an interesting word or turn of phrase could lead to his next writing project.” So thinks James (in a voice so convincing I hear him speak in my head) as he attends a lecture on astronomy. Meanwhile for readers, half the fun of these dualled mysteries is in guessing where that word or phrase might lie. Meanwhile the world’s real history waits in the wings. Germany is rising. German Jews are falling. Women seek independence from the kitchen sink, and even in “a country as rich and successful as ours... people go to bed hungry at night.” I love the convincingly different points of view of the two protagonists. I love the clever twists as stories intertwine. I love the plausible commentary on recent history. And most of all, I love the convincing voice in which these tales are told, pulling me in, filling in details and scenes, and leaving me caring, not just about the world, but about regular people too, and quietly broken relationships that diverge with their storylines. Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy and I offer my honest review. I’m hooked on this series!