James Murray is a young man with a dream -- he wants to be a writer just like his idol, Dashiell Hammett. He pens his first novel while working as a clerk at a swank downtown department store. He writes his second while working at a famous movie studio turning his first novel into a screenplay. Now, moderately successful, James is hard at work creating his newest adventure.
And his life is perfect -- or nearly so: he’s living with the girl he loves, planning to get married, and enjoying a life he once could only dream about. But an innocent outing to Los Angeles’s new Griffith Observatory changes all that when a commotion during a presentation leads to a kidnapping. James, witness to the abduction, feels compelled to find out the truth behind it. Why was this person kidnapped? Who was behind it? Why were the abductors speaking in German? And what does Gina Corvi have to do with it?
“Abduction at Griffith Observatory” -- like its predecessors "Sabotage at RKO Studio" and "Murder at Eastern Columbia" -- is unlike any other book you've read: Not a single novel, it's two parallel novels, featuring two heroes, working two mysteries in two different versions of 1930s Los Angeles. Join James and his alter ego as they each try to find the missing person. His hard-boiled alter ego -- neither a private detective nor a police officer: just someone "who wants to help" -- needs to find out why his life is being threatened because of a piece of paper with some numbers on it. Two men in two stories work their way through 1930s Los Angeles following clews, interviewing people who might know something, going from location to location, with one goal in mind: find the person who was kidnapped.
Along the way, they encounter a rich cast of characters including a hate-filled landlady who doesn’t like anyone different than she, the nervous director of the observatory, the mysterious black woman who was exiled from the country of her birth, the young page working at the observatory, a gentle cleaning woman who has suffered since the death of her husband, the scientist with a deadly secret, and the girl in the blue pumps who tries to hide the scar on her face like she tries to hide so many other things about herself.
“Abduction at Griffith Observatory” is filled with twists, turns and a final showdown aboard a rusty old freighter moored to a dock at San Pedro harbor.
Come along for the ride in this, the third James Murray mystery: the story of a young man who dreams of something better.