This is Book 3 in the original mystery series starring Dorothy Parker.
“I’ve been asked by the entertainment committee to interview a couple of spiritualists for Actors Equity’s Halloween Ball,” said Jane Grant
“How the hell does one interview a spiritualist?” asked Tallulah Bankhead.
“Ask if he knows the color of your bloomers?” suggested Edna Ferber.
“Never wear any,” said Tallulah.
“Oh, yes, what was I thinking? I forgot I was talking with the Bare-Bottom Whore of Babylon,” said Edna, rolling her eyes towards heaven.
“She with the lowest score at Mah Jong today will accompany me on the interviews,” said Jane, shuffling the Mah Jong tiles over the tabletop.
And that’s how Dorothy Parker wound up at Madame Olenska’s séance with her partner in crime, Robert Benchley.
It is the New York City of October, 1926, and the country is glued to their radios, while New Yorkers are packing into the new Yankee Stadium to watch the Babe knock another ball out of the park in the World Series games against the St. Louis Cardinals. It is also the era of sensational newspaper coverage by sob-sister reporters dishing out trial coverage of women accused of gunning down the men who done them wrong—‘gin and guns, either one is bad enough, but together they get you into a dickens of a mess’—
Parker and Benchley confront gun-toting criminals while investigating a rash of murders of psychics who should have seen it coming.
Could the murderer be Lord Tristan Wildly, come to the States to investigate paranormal phenomenon for the British Society for Psychical Research? Perhaps the murderer is Chaim Katzenelenbogen, alias Siegfried Franken, or his sister, Frances? And then there are the Booths to consider—Benny and Bette. But what about the disagreeable Caroline Mead, who had motive, too. Lest we forget Lee Pigeon? Did we mention Rabindranath Tagore—the mystic, not the poet? And what, or who, is the Pendragon? A house of Burlesque? A speakeasy on 52nd Street? A giant reptile in the Canary Islands? A British Music Hall magician?
Just add a little blackmail, a love triangle, satanic sacrifice, an Indian Swami, a chauffeur, an opera singer and a gallon of bathtub gin to the caldron and bring to a boil; season with the antics of the Marx Brothers, Dorothy’s adorable Boston terrier, Woodrow Wilson, a trio of Siamese cats and some biting wit from the Algonquin Round Table crowd, and then ladle out a delectably funny alphabet soup. With a little sprinkle of baseball mania for some crunch, finish up the meal with a Broadway play for desert. Yummy!
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