James Murray is a young man with a dream -- he wants to be a writer just like his idol, Dashiell Hammett. While working as a clerk at a swank downtown department store, James pens a novel that turns out to be a surprise success. Now, he’s the junior screenwriter at a major Hollywood studio.
During his time there, productions at the studio have been plagued by a series of mysterious accidents including fires, damage to costumes, theft of miniatures used for trick shots -- and the worst: theft of an important scene from the studio’s big picture, "King Kong." Not wanting to attract too much attention by calling the police, head of production Merian C. Cooper enlists James’s help in trying to find out what’s behind the sabotage.
"Sabotage at RKO Studio," and its predecessor "Murder at Eastern Columbia," are unlike any other books you've read: Not a single novel, it's two parallel novels, featuring two heroes, working two mysteries in two different versions of 1930s Hollywood. Join James and his alter ego as they each try to find the saboteurs behind the “accidents.” His hard-boiled alter ego -- neither a private detective nor a police officer: just someone "who wants to help" -- needs to find out who's trying to pin the “accidents” on him. Two men in two stories work their way through 1930s Hollywood following clews, interviewing people who might know something, going from location to location, with one goal in mind: find out who might want to damage the studio.
Along the way, they meet a rich cast of characters including a glamorous movie star; a poor Mexican girl working as a secretary in a bank; a mysterious blonde secretary who harbors a deadly secret; the intriguing Mexican girl from a very wealthy family who still mourns the death of her brother; the silent-screen star who left movies to marry into oil; a handsome young police officer just trying to do his job; and the pretty, young girl who gives tours at the Richfield Oil Building.
"Sabotage at RKO Studio" is filled with twists, turns and a final scene at a glamorous Hollywood movie premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Come along for the ride in this, the second James Murray mystery: the story of a young man who dreams of something better.