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Hollywood, 1913: In the dusty desert community of Los Angeles, a ragtag film company cranks out silent movies in defiance of the law. Young Dmitri Pulski works for his father's ice company in the snowy Sierra Nevadas, and is sent on a journey south to investigate an astonishing order for ten tons of ice by something called the Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association. Almost immediately, Dmitri, an aspiring writer, finds himself writing movie scenarios. But things get rocky when the company is threatened with foreclosure by the local sheriff--they're grinding out their movies just outside the reach of the monopolistic Eastern Trust, which claims the exclusive right to make moving pictures under Thomas Edison's patent. The Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association is the story of the frontier's last boomtown, whose cast of big guns includes D.W. Griffith, Tom Mix, Lillian Gish, and unseen villain Thomas Edison.
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Loren D. Estleman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BA degree in English Literature and Journalism in 1974. In 2002, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters for his contribution to American literature.
He is the author of more than fifty novels in the categories of mystery, historical western, and mainstream, and has received four Western Writers of American Golden Spur Awards, three Western Heritage Awards, and three Shamus Awards. He has been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Britain's Silver Dagger, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2003, the mammoth Encyclopedia of Detective Fiction named him the most critically acclaimed writer of U.S. detective
The Rocky Mountain Moving Picture Association
1926A Death in SeasonBuck would have loved it: the throngs in fedoras, straw boaters, and cloches, compressed into squares by Jimmy Walker's Finest, the best cops money could buy, in their shining rubber ponchos and cap shields; the ropes and barricades erected to funnel the mourners from four abreast to two, forming a line eleven blocks long; the rain sizzling off the awning of Frank E. Campbell's Funeral Chapel and making the sea of black umbrellas glisten. That last was a bit of cooperation from the weather Buck had never managed to achieve, which was why he refused to make up a shooting schedule, preferring to hold off the cemetery procession until the rain decided to fall. Plugging in the desert chase when the sun insisted on shining. Buck, who never believed in chance good fortune, would have scanned the rooftops looking for men with hoses. Airborne cloud-seeders weren't out of the question, provided Adolph Zukor agreed to a quid pro quo with George M. Cohan in return for permission to rain on Broadway. No one understood the territorial imperative better than an old pirate.He shook his head, missing Buck, and handed five dollars to a fellow who had stood in line two hours for the express purpose of selling his position. He was in no great personal hurry, but the price would only go up, and he'd heard a rumorthat Harry Klemfuss would soon seal the casket to prevent the taking of souvenirs. It was the kind of rumor that could spark another riot--the mounted patrolmen were already in place, prepared to charge--and in any case he hadn't come all this way and stood in the rain all this time to look at a silver-bronze box.Klemfuss didn't care who took souvenirs. Another riot would actually help ensure the box office for the two unreleased films in the can. Hell, Hollywood would say, Harry will do anything to get you ink, even after you're dead. Buck and Klemfuss would have gotten along. Until their interests conflicted.The crowd was orderly. Not like earlier in the day, when gangs of young women armed with umbrellas had laid siege to the entrance and had to be beaten back with billy clubs. Many wore black veils and armbands, although here and there he spotted a fancy boy in droopy balloon pants and a sodden bolero vest; even at the height of the "pink powder-puff" controversy the press had ignored the man's vast homosexual following. The woman to his right, a plump chatterbox clutching a framed studio print to her breasts, said she had seen A Sainted Devil seventeen times. Her makeup was streaming, but he suspected it was more from the rain than from tears. She was as animated as if she were on her way to a personal appearance.Inside the entrance he stood aside to let the woman start up the stairs ahead of him. The deep red runner was striped down the center with brown mud tracked in from the street. From here on it was step up, wait, step up, wait. The wait was seldom longer than a second. He'd heard that a woman who had fainted from anxiety and the August heat had been allowed a three-second visitation to compensate her for her ordeal.He was on the landing now, close enough to see through the open door into the small room where the body lay in state,where it had been moved from the larger and more prestigious Gold Room after the ornaments and fixtures had been sacked by rioters. He saw the tall candles, the marble statuary, the wall of ferns behind the bier. He couldn't see the casket or its occupant for the Hollywood fascisti surrounding it. Another Klemfuss coup, although Mussolini had sent a cable denying ownership of these particular Black Shirts, or of an ostentatious wreath bearing the legend FROM BENITO.Hellinger and Winchell were back in their offices banging black-box Remingtons to commemorate the spectacle, and of course Jimmy, the Night Mayor of New York, had had words to say. Grogin of the Evening Graphic had faked up a cadaver shot before the genuine corpse had even arrived at the parlor and composited a cordial meeting with Caruso in the Afterlife. No confirmation yet that Capone men would board the funeral train in Chicago to accompany the body across the continent with tommy guns in their laps; that one had Runyon all over it.Anyway, it was a woman's event. Pola Negri, they said, had paid her respects in three-thousand-dollar widow's weeds, with the help of an army airmail plane to whisk her there from the West Coast. Ziegfeld beauty Marion Kay Brenda, a floradora in search of a surname, had taken umbrage, claiming that she, not the Polish actress, had been the deceased's future intended. Mary Pickford was expected to show up at the services later at St. Malachy's. No suicides there, that was reserved for those who didn't know him. In London an apache dancer had poisoned herself. In New York a housewife had swallowed iodine and shot herself twice, sprawling poetically on a pile of eight-by-ten glossies. In Santa Monica a woman had put on her wedding dress and walked into the ocean; but that was California. He wondered if any of them thought they had a better chance of meeting the object of their passion in a crowded heaven than they'd had on earth.He was in the room now. The air smelled woozily of flowers--thousands of flowers, sent from as far away as bolshevik Russia, bouquets and baskets and pots and gondolas of roses, carnations, hibiscus, peonies, buttercups, tulips, lady's slippers, lilies, poppies, geraniums, chrysanthemums, primrose, orchids, bluebells, African violets--all the obnoxious and dazzling bounty of a death in season. The room had not been sufficient to contain them and they had been spread out throughout both floors. Farther in, in the aftermath of olfactory overload, he noticed the more prosaic odors of melted wax, rubber galoshes, and wet wool. These smells reminded him of a field trip to a museum.He took his turn at the bookstand, where he was forced to wait while yet another guestbook was borne away, heavy with the weight of its signatures, and its replacement brought. The spine cracked when it was opened by a young attendant in a black cutaway and white cotton gloves. He accepted the feather quill and without thinking signed a name he hadn't used in ten years. He'd been ruminating too deeply on the past.He made no attempt to correct the mistake, but surrendered the quill and shuffled forward with the line, his hat now in his hand. Now he heard sobbing (genuine, probably, Klemfuss's hired female mourners having wept their bit shortly after the doors opened), a whispered snatch of the Twenty-third Psalm, the toneless chant of the Black Shirts' selected spokesman to "Keep it moving, keep it moving." And now he was at the opening in the ropes, and now he was there before the casket.They had him propped against a white satin pillow in a black tuxedo with extravagant lapels and a silk bow tie, under a dome of shatterproof glass; so much for souvenir hunting. They'd wound a rosary around his folded hands, the white fingers with their waxy nails, and turned his head three quartersso he could share a slight conspiratorial smile with his visitors, amused by the ludicrous turnout, far better than any of his premieres. Especially the most recent.Peritonitis. It seemed a drastic thing to have to do to win back one's audience. Jerry Jarette would have found a way to fake it.He looked down at the marble-white features, the obvious paint. Where was the powder puff now? There was the lacquered black hair, no gray in it or dye, as why should there be at thirty-one, showing the marks of the comblike grooves in a new record. There were the razored sideburns, the dimpled upper lip and long swooping lashes. It couldn't be real. He looked too much like his movies.And then his second was over. He turned away, descended a homely set of stairs with a rubber runner, and passed out through a side door where he suspected the corpses entered, wrapped in rubber sheets and without music; out into the snotlike rain, among the klaxons and electric signs and the stink of horseshit, the last so reminiscent of a Rocky shoot. Putting on his hat thinking, Rodolpho Alfonzo Rafaelo Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguolla, Great Lover, Mighty Sheik, O Immortal Valentino, in what unlabeled pauper's ditch would you be lying had not Arthur Bensinger, Jr., tripped over a bucket of washers in the Bensinger & Rausch Hardware and Electrical Supply of Union City in 1909?Copyright © 1999 by Loren D. Estleman
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Book Description Recorded Books, Prince Frederick, Maryland, U.S.A., 2000. Audio Book. Condition: Good. Five RELIABLE audio cassettes in the clam shell case published by Recorded Books withdrawn from the library. Some shelf wear to the covers. Library markings to the tapes. The word Discard is written in marker on the back and front of the case on the outside cover. Small cut to the plastic cover at the bottom on the back of the case. Enjoy this UNABRIDGED audio performance!. Seller Inventory # AudioRB61209087