From the New York Times bestselling author of the Quinn Colson series comes a noir crime classic about one of the most notorious trials in American history.
San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel-girls, jazz, bootleg hooch...and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe.
The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her—crushed her under his weight—and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict.
In desperation, Arbuckle's defense team hires an operative from the famed Pinkerton detective agency to investigate and, they hope, discover the truth. The agent's name is Dashiell Hammett... and what he discovers will change American legal history—and his own life—forever
The 1921 rape/manslaughter trial of silent film star Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle provides the gritty backdrop for Atkins's outstanding crime novel, in which Dashiell Hammett, then a Pinkerton operative living in San Francisco, plays a significant role. A wild party Arbuckle throws at San Francisco's posh St. Francis Hotel results in tragedy after an actress, Virginia Rappe, is mysteriously injured and later dies. As the author explains in a behind the story introduction, the future creator of Sam Spade was actually assigned to help the defense on the Arbuckle case. With enviable ease, Atkins (Wicked City) brings to life Hammett, Arbuckle, William Randolph Hearst and other real figures of the period. Those familiar with the historical case will be impressed by how well the book meshes fact and fiction. Genre fans who enjoy the grim realism of James Ellroy's post-WWII Los Angeles will find a lot to like in Atkins's Prohibition-era San Francisco.
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The Devils Garden
Excellent book! My imagination ran wild, like it was a movie inside my head! Facts mixed in with fiction really brought this book to life.