Orson Welles is the bombastic wonder boy of radio and stage. But is he also a murderer?
Walter Gibson—creator of pulp superhero the Shadow—travels to New York City to collaborate on a script with Welles, star of the radio show The Mercury Theatre on the Air. The young Welles is a charming but difficult taskmaster who relishes dramatic blowouts with friends, lovers, and colleagues. So when a dead body is found in the studio minutes before the live broadcast of The War of the Worlds, Gibson knows Welles will be the New York Police Department’s number one suspect. Gibson has exactly one hour—while Welles is on the air enacting the infamous hoax story of a Martian invasion—to find the real murderer and clear the radio star’s name. With its brilliant reconstruction of the broadcast that hoodwinked the nation, The War of the Worlds Murder is a paean to radio’s golden age.
About the Author
Max Allan Collins is the New York Times best-selling author of Road to Perdition and multiple award-winning novels, screenplays, comic books, comic strips, trading cards, short stories, movie novelizations, and historical fiction. He has scripted the Dick Tracy comic strip, Batman comic books, and written tie-in novels based on the CSI, Bones, and Dark Angel TV series; collaborated with legendary mystery author Mickey Spillane; and authored numerous mystery series including Quarry, Nolan, Mallory, Eliot Ness, and the bestselling Nathan Heller historical thrillers. His additional Disaster series mystery novels include The Titanic Murders, The Hindenburg Murders, The Pearl Harbor Murders, The Lusitania Murders, and The London Blitz Murders.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The War of the Worlds Murder provided an interesting story-telling technique. Author Max Allan Collins talks about spending an evening with author Walter B. Gibson, creator and chronicler of “The Shadow”. Collins relates a tale told to him by Mr. Gibson over adult beverages, about hanging around with Orson Welles to discuss a possible “Shadow” movie, while the actor / director / man about town was busy with his “Mercury Theatre On the Air” as they prepared to air a (now-infamous) dramatization of H.G. Wells (no relation) “War of the Worlds”. Much of this is common knowledge decades later – but not the discovery of a dead body shortly before air time … Did Gibson originally tell a true story? Did Collins embellish it? Or, did Collins make the whole thing up? Truth is, it doesn't matter. The story as related to us, the reading (or in my case, listening, as I had the audio version) public, was entertaining and kept my interest. The story talked about the famed Orson Welles and his numerous excesses – some towards his art, some towards his personal wants – and his relationship with his theater company, and its economic manager, John Houseman (who at the time was NOT known for his curmudgeonly characterizations on the big and small screens). The discovery of the missing company member and her subsequent re-discovery in the locked room was almost a distraction towards the tale of War of the Worlds, which itself was almost a distraction towards the story of a short portion of the life of the legendary Welles. This book was definitely with the read – or, in my case, listen – and I would recommend it to those looking for a more offbeat murder mystery, or to those interested in the early days of radio, or in the sociology of that famed Halloween night when many Americans thought that the Martians HAD arrived. RATING: 5 stars. Bonus points to the narrator for his John Houseman impersonation.
Weaves a story told to him by Walter Gibson, comic book/pulp fiction writer who claims to have been at the presentation of the war of the worlds broadcast. Intermingled is a murder that points to Orson as the killer. Loved the story about Orson and the broadcast. the murder was actually a detraction from the story. overall a great read but not his better "disaster-fiction" novels.