Hollywood, 1934. Prohibition is finally over, but there is still plenty of crime for an ambitious young private eye to investigate. Though he has a slightly checkered past, Riley Fitzhugh is well connected in the film industry and is hired by a major producer—whose lovely girlfriend has disappeared. He also is hired to recover a stolen Monet, a crime that results in two murders initially, with more to come. Along the way, Riley investigates the gambling ships anchored off LA, gets involved with the girlfriend of the gangster running one of the ships, and disposes of the body of a would-be actor who assaults Riley’s girlfriend. He also meets an elegant English art history professor from UCLA who helps Riley authenticate several paintings and determine which ones are forgeries. Riley lives at the Garden of Allah Hotel, the favorite watering place of screenwriters, and he meets and unknowingly assists many of them with their plots. Incidentally, one of these gents, whose nom de plume is “Hobey Baker,” might actually be F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Terry Mort is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Michigan, where he received an MA in English and began work on a PhD. After grad school he served as an officer in the US Navy. He was deployed to Southeast Asia, where he saw a variety of action. Mort has written a number of nonfiction histories, widely praised in the national press. He has also written several novels.