Celebrated Mysteries

Midnight in Paris

Yesterday I finally got a chance to watch the Oscar nominated movie, Midnight in Paris. Let me start off by saying that I’m not really much of a Woody Allen fan, but the premise of this movie intrigued me. It’s set in modern-day Paris but has the main character Gil, played by Owen Wilson, traveling to 1920’s Paris every evening at midnight. Gil is a script writer in Hollywood, but wistfully longs to be a novelist. His writer’s fantasy is fulfilled when on his nightly travels back to the 20’s he is befriended by  F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso amongst others.

This movie made me think of two of my favorite mystery series both featuring Hollywood celebrities from bygone eras.

Stuart Kaminsky was a prolific author with three separate mystery series, but my favorite featured private detective Toby Peters, the hard on his luck, wise cracking gumshoe. This laugh out loud series, set in 1940’s Hollywood is full of characters right out of a B movie. Each book features a movie star that needs Toby’s help out of a jam. Judy Garland, Gary Cooper, Mae West, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford – Toby helps them all!  There are a total of 24 books in the series and every one a gem. You can’t go wrong picking up any one of them.

The Rat Pack mysteries is the second series I love. Written by Robert J. Randisi, this series is set in 1960’s Las Vegas and features Eddie Gianelli aka Eddie G., a pit boss at the Sands casino. The first book is set during the filming of Oceans 11 and Eddie gets involved when Dean Martin starts receiving anonymous threatening letters. Joey Bishop sets up a meeting between Eddie and Frank Sinatra, where Frank asks Eddie to help him and Dean out as a favor. How can Eddie say no?  There are only 6 books in this fairly new series. Each one featuring Frank and the rest of the pack in Vegas needing a favor from Eddie. Great fun!

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