A Rhumba in Waltz Time
Robert S. Levinson
Five Star, Sep 7 2011, $25.95
In 1933, LAPD detective Chris Blanchard watches the demise of his police career when he refuses to ignore a peer roughing a prostitute. Forced off the force because he violated the unwritten rule, Blanchard obtains work at the MGM studio. He fixes problems.
In 1938 actress Marie MacDaniels arrives at Blanchard’s home drunk and distraught. She claims she shot and killed her spouse, actor Day Covington. She gives her gun to Blanchard. He arrives at the crime scene and finds proof she never shot her husband. While seeking to expedite her from the mess, he hides MacDaniels in a safe place. Soon afterward other homicides occur including Otto Rothman the photographer. Clues lead to Bugsy Siegel and American Nazis.
A Rhumba in Waltz Time is a superb Depression Era Hollywood Noir. Blanchard is a tough protagonist who does not take prisoners as he investigates the Day murder and soon other homicides as an extension of his troubleshooting work for MGM. Readers will enjoy this 1930s thriller as the MGM major and minor leagues star system comes across in living color (even if the movies were mostly black and white).