All That Glitters

All That Glitters bookcover
Michael Murphy
Random House
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I like to read series sequentially, but though I am new to the Jake and Laura noir mystery series, I had no trouble figuring everything out. All that Glitters is a first person mystery in the voice of novelist and former Pinkerton Jake Donovan, whose diction is flavored like something out of 1933 Golden Era Hollywood movie. Donavon writes formula books about Blackie Doyle, and his long time girlfriend Laura is a Broadway actress just branching into talkies.

Jake and Laura travel from New York to Hollywood for Laura's part in The Midnight Wedding, a movie. The Carville Studio head pushes Jake into rewriting his troubled son's screenplay, and when the screenwriter is found dead, it is up to Jake to clear his name.

Michael Murphy does a credible job in making this era come to life. The characters are drawn to fit the time and include a various mix of stars, mobsters, (Leo Cartwright, Slick Ray Gambino), andAnnabelle (the LA cop). And of course, there's Donavon's redoubtable editor Mildred keeping him on track. Definitely a fun read.

The chemistry and banter is true to a style we recognize from the Thin Man series. The presentation of thirties Hollywood is light and brisk and a little effervescent.