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Slow Dissolve Mass Market Paperback – Jan 30 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (Jan. 30 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449007057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449007051
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,182,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Della Borton is a pseudonym for Lynette Carpenter, professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she teaches a film course.  She is also the author of Fade to Black and Freeze Frame. As D. B. Borton, she is the author of the Cat Caliban mystery series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1
I was in the dark. Not a new state for me, either literally or
figuratively. This time it was literal, preceded by a clap of thunder that
could have been God's Foley artist answering George Lucas. The boom
launched me off my stool and precipitated my knee into a close encounter
with the makeup bench. I cursed the darkness, pressed one hand to my
throbbing knee, and reached for the flashlight with the other one. I felt
it bump my fingertips. Then I heard it hit the floor with a crack, and
roll.

"Oh, hell!" I shouted, the sound bouncing off the walls of the projection
booth and hurting my own ears. In every direction, I knew, lay obstacles
waiting in the darkness to trip me, stab me, bash my shins, and fall on
top of me. In one direction only lay the door, but I would have to feel my
way to it.

I took a deep breath. Aloud, I muttered, "Think happy thoughts, Gilda.
This is no time to be cranky. You're an independent theater owner about to
be visited by the box office darlings of the summer season, who will leave
their dinoprints all over your ticket sales reports. Better to have the
power outage tonight and get it over with than to send everybody home from
The Lost World on Thursday night. As your cousin Faye would say, chill."

My knee still smarted as I limped in the general direction of the door. In
the dark, I was more acutely aware of the smells of the old theater--a
faint mustiness, the scents of the cleaners and oils used to keep the
antique projector and the newer platter system running, the rich, buttery
odor of more than half a century of popcorn. A deep silence inside the
theater answered the rumbling storm outside. As my eyes adjusted to
the disorienting blackness, I realized that a few photons had made their
way into the booth from the exit signs at the front of the theater.

I took the stairs slowly, surprised by the darkness of the lobby below.
The late afternoon thunderstorm had crept up on me while I was working in
the booth, but it must be some storm, I thought. A sudden flash of
lightning lit up the lobby, and I cried out. Two feet away from where I
had frozen on the bottom stair, a man was standing. A clap of thunder
rattled the glass doors on the front of the theater.

Training, my Aunt Lillian always says, counts for everything in situations
like these.

"May I help you?" I croaked.

Out of the darkness came a sigh, barely audible under the sounds of wind
and rain outside.

"I used to be in pictures," a voice said softly.

Poised for flight, I considered my options.

"Yeah?" I said.

"Long time ago," the voice said. "Before the war."

At that moment, Central Ohio Power seized the upper hand, and the lights
flickered on. The ice machine resumed its contented purr.

The man before me looked to be in his seventies. He was slightly
stoop-shouldered and had white wispy hair retreating along both temples.
He wore dark green polyester pants and an old brown military jacket, even
though the day was warm.

"I'm Leo," he said, turning to look at me.

Then he smiled. He had a jawline shaped like a boomerang, and his smile
widened his mouth into a V. A row of front teeth protruded like an awning
over his lower lip. If ever a grin could be called wolfish, this was it.

"Gilda Liberty," I said, putting out my hand. He looked at it, then put
out his own. "I own the Paradise."

He nodded, and continued to grin at me.

"Did you want to, uh, look around?" I asked hesitantly. I had work to
finish upstairs before the early show.

"I'm waiting for my girl," he said.

"Your girl?" I echoed. I didn't think any of the summer help could be in
this guy's range, romantically speaking, and none of them would tolerate
being called a "girl," much less with a possessive pronoun attached to it.

"Gladys," he said, beaming at me. "You know Gladys?"

"I haven't had the pleasure," I said.

"Glad's a real peach," he assured me. "Works at the engine plant. She's
crazy about the picture show, she is. She can't get enough of Ronald
Colman and that other guy--you know who I mean? I forget his name. I say,
what do you need those guys for, when you got me? But she just laughs, and
I keep shelling out the dough."

I nodded, wondering briefly if perhaps the storm had somehow precipitated
me into the past, and I was having some kind of weird Back to the Future
experience. The engine plant had been closed for years; what was left of
the building was as dusty as the inside of Ronald Colman's coffin.

"Say, I got a picture of Glad," he said, snapping his fingers. He reached
into his back pocket, but came up empty-handed. His face crumpled into
panic. "It's not there!" His frightened eyes circled the lobby as if he
thought a thief was lurking in the shadows.

Now I knew which one of us was experiencing a flashback.

"That's okay," I said soothingly. I took him by the arm and guided him to
a chair. "You can sit down here and describe her to me. That way, it'll be
more personal."

I stole a peek at his back pockets before they hit the seat of the chair.
Sure enough, I saw no telltale bulges there. I wondered how I would find
out where Leo lived if nobody came looking for him.

"About Gladys," I prompted him.

His worried expression cleared. "You know Gladys?" he asked eagerly.

"I don't think so," I said. "What does she look like?"

I was just making conversation. I didn't expect Gladys, if she walked in
the door now, to look like she'd looked in the Ronald Colman years.

"Aw, she's a sweet kid," Leo told me. "A real peach."

That appeared to be all the information I was going to get about Gladys,
at first. His gaze circled the lobby again, and he sighed.

"Gladys?" I said again.

"Gladys?" he echoed. Again he seemed momentarily confused, then clarity
returned. "Oh, Gladys, why, she, she's got me wrapped around her little
finger, I can tell you. Hold on! I've got a picture--"

I interrupted before he could get his hand in his pocket. "You live around
here, Leo?" I asked.

"Around here?" he echoed. His gaze swept the lobby again as if I were
suggesting that he had a bachelor pad back behind the concession stand.
"No, I don't think so," he said slowly. Then he brightened. "No, I live
over on Lenox Avenue with Shelly." He gestured over his shoulder with his
thumb. Something glinted on his wrist when he raised his hand. It looked
like an ID bracelet.

"Shelly?" I asked, faintly hopeful.

"You know Shelly?" he responded eagerly.

"I don't think so," I said. I fished out a cigarette and lit it. His eyes
followed my hands. I should have offered him one, but I hesitated, not
knowing whether he would be able to manage it without catching himself on
fire.

"Shelly, he don't have time for movies," Leo told me. "He's all the time
practicing, or playing gigs. That's what they call it--playing gigs. Say,
maybe you saw his band! They played over at the park for the Rotary Club."
He gave me more thumb action, this time in a different direction.

"Sorry, I missed that concert," I said.

There was a moment of silence as we contemplated my missed opportunity.

"I want to go home now," Leo announced abruptly, and stood up.

"Okay," I agreed. "Let's see if we can figure out where you live."

"I want to go home," he repeated, not whining, just stating a fact.

"Believe me, Leo, I'm all for it," I said, stroking his arm
reassuringly. "But--"

"There you are!" A woman's voice, sounding tired and
exasperated, came from the front entrance.

"Hello, Pauline," Leo said. "I want to go home."

"That's good," she told him. "At least we agree on something." She turned
to me. "I'm sorry if he bothered you. I was around the corner at the
optometrist, and I just took my eyes off him for one second. Honestly!
It's like having kids all over again."

Pauline was a graying brunette of medium height, about my age and looking
it. She had the same middle age spread at her hips, the same thickening of
her upper arms. She wore a nondescript cotton skirt and a white cotton
shirt, and she kept running a hand through her short, curly hair. Her hair
might have been styled when she left home that morning, but it wasn't now.
I couldn't afford to criticize; mine wasn't styled, either. It was on its
own, which might explain why it was always reaching out to everything I
passed as if I were running a strong electrical current up from my toes.

"I'm trying to help out while my mother's in the hospital, but I don't
have a lot of practice at this sort of thing." She waved a hand in Leo's
direction. "Leo's my stepfather. Leo Mayer is his name, in case you ever
find him here again. I'm Pauline Kline. He wears an ID bracelet, so you
can always call the number on there." She hauled up Leo's hand to eye
level to show me the bracelet on his wrist. Then she shook her head at
him. "I don't know how you can stand to wear that jacket in this weather,
Leo. It must be eighty-five degrees." To me, she said, "I know I shouldn't
let him wear it in this heat, but he's so attached to it. My mother says
let him wear it if he wants to."

"I never sweat," Leo announced. "My ...

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Many authors write more than one series; some even write in more than one genre. I'm personally delighted that Della Borton started this second series known as- A Movie Lover's Mystery. I tried several times to read her first series, but it just didn't ring my bell, so I gave up. Not so this one, however. I was hooked after about five pages of the first book, FADE TO BLACK, enchanted with FREEZE FRAME, and am totally captured by this third one, which I'll happily rank as one of the best books of 2001 -- in any genre. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if you can read chapter 42 without shedding a tear, 'you're a better man than I, Gunga Din', and you should be auditioning for the part of Hard-Hearted Hannah in Pete Kelley's Blues.
This book is a total package, in my opinion. The characters, many of whom we've met in the earlier books, are well-drawn and very believable in their actions. The plot of this book is multi-faceted, always including the famous Liberty family, well-known to the world because of their ubiquitous history in American film. In addition to the mystery element, the author also delves into the mysterious world of the Alzheimer's patient and the disastrous effect of the illness on those close to the patient, as well. An added bonus is the wonderful tribute to the early 'race' movies. As the Blacks from the South moved northward, many of them wanted to see movies featuring Black actors and other artists. An entire genre developed to feed this desire, and despite its popularity and the many stars it produced, it is still considered almost a step-child of the so-called 'real' movie industry.
Gilda Liberty has returned to her family hometown of Eden, somewhere in southwestern Ohio.
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Della Borton's mystery novels dealing with the wacky movie crazy Liberties and film industry is probably one of the best series that deals with that subject matter. And this series is based in Ohio, lending an even more off the wall wackiness to the whole thing. This time around Gilda Liberty dons her sleuthing cap to go to the aid of an almost relative suffering from Alzheimer's and who desperately needs to find someone before it's too late.
Gilda runs the Palace cinema and one afternoon Leo Mayer, a likeable old man walks into her cinema, claiming to have once made movies. Gilda then meets Leo's daughter-in-law, who informs Gilda that Leo has Alzheimer's. Gilda feels sorry for Leo and beyond confirming that Leo is a relative of sorts, she more or less puts the whole incident out of her mind until she gets a 'phone call from Styles, a detective she's had dealings with in previous mysteries. Styles had been hired by Leo's third wife, Shirley, to try and find someone Leo seems desperate to get in touch with. The only clue they have is a name: Auggie. No one seems to have any idea of whom "Auggie" may be, and when Styles descends into the basement to go through Leo's files and computer, she trips over a wire stretched across the stairs and falls, injuring herself rather badly. So Syles recriuts Gilda to do some sleuthing for her. It soon becomes apparent to everyone that someone either has it in for Leo or Shirley, as a string of accidents dog the pair. Is someone trying to prevent the Mayers from finding "Auggie" or is one of Leo's or Shirley's children trying to get to their bequests early?
This was a really enjoyable mystery.
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In Eden, Ohio, Gilda Liberty runs the town's independent movie house. She recovers rather slowly from the pain her lover dealt her when she deserted Gilda and left with her kids in tow with a biker. The extended Liberty family consists of a bunch of delightful eccentrics who have been involved in various aspects of the film and live stage industry. Gilda resides in the family mansion, complaining about the lack of privacy, but never bothering to relocate.

Leo Mayers enters Gilda's theater where the two meet. Gilda learns that someone has tried to kill Leo's wife Shirley by putting acid in the family swimming pool. Another attempt is made on her life. Gilda enlists the aid of private detective Styles to keep the woman safe. Meanwhile Shirley, Leo's wife, demands that Leo's oldest son (from another marriage) open the financial books, but the young man refuses to listen. The detecting duo think something is wrong with Leo's finances thanks to his sons While investigating Leo's children, Gilda and Styles seeks someone named AUgie, who Leo calls for in his lucid moments.
<PThe affect of Alzheimer's on the victim and his or her family is realistically and grimly explored as someone who knows first hand the disease's devastation. Della Borton lectures the government for doing so little to care for the elderly. On the lighter side, enthusiast of old movies will learn a lot from SLOW DISOLVE. The story line is well crafted with the reprimand of the government slyly implied within the taut plot without slowing anything down. The characters make this who-done- a winner with a capital W.

Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For the movie fan in all of us as well as a social commenary Feb. 1 2001
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
In Eden, Ohio, Gilda Liberty runs the town's independent movie house. She recovers rather slowly from the pain her lover dealt her when she deserted Gilda and left with her kids in tow with a biker. The extended Liberty family consists of a bunch of delightful eccentrics who have been involved in various aspects of the film and live stage industry. Gilda resides in the family mansion, complaining about the lack of privacy, but never bothering to relocate.

Leo Mayers enters Gilda's theater where the two meet. Gilda learns that someone has tried to kill Leo's wife Shirley by putting acid in the family swimming pool. Another attempt is made on her life. Gilda enlists the aid of private detective Styles to keep the woman safe. Meanwhile Shirley, Leo's wife, demands that Leo's oldest son (from another marriage) open the financial books, but the young man refuses to listen. The detecting duo think something is wrong with Leo's finances thanks to his sons While investigating Leo's children, Gilda and Styles seeks someone named AUgie, who Leo calls for in his lucid moments.
<PThe affect of Alzheimer's on the victim and his or her family is realistically and grimly explored as someone who knows first hand the disease's devastation. Della Borton lectures the government for doing so little to care for the elderly. On the lighter side, enthusiast of old movies will learn a lot from SLOW DISOLVE. The story line is well crafted with the reprimand of the government slyly implied within the taut plot without slowing anything down. The characters make this who-done- a winner with a capital W.

Harriet Klausner
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A triple feature, at the very least -- May 1 2001
By kellytwo - Published on Amazon.com
Many authors write more than one series; some even write in more than one genre. I'm personally delighted that Della Borton started this second series known as- A Movie Lover's Mystery. I tried several times to read her first series, but it just didn't ring my bell, so I gave up. Not so this one, however. I was hooked after about five pages of the first book, FADE TO BLACK, enchanted with FREEZE FRAME, and am totally captured by this third one, which I'll happily rank as one of the best books of 2001 -- in any genre. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if you can read chapter 42 without shedding a tear, 'you're a better man than I, Gunga Din', and you should be auditioning for the part of Hard-Hearted Hannah in Pete Kelley's Blues.
This book is a total package, in my opinion. The characters, many of whom we've met in the earlier books, are well-drawn and very believable in their actions. The plot of this book is multi-faceted, always including the famous Liberty family, well-known to the world because of their ubiquitous history in American film. In addition to the mystery element, the author also delves into the mysterious world of the Alzheimer's patient and the disastrous effect of the illness on those close to the patient, as well. An added bonus is the wonderful tribute to the early 'race' movies. As the Blacks from the South moved northward, many of them wanted to see movies featuring Black actors and other artists. An entire genre developed to feed this desire, and despite its popularity and the many stars it produced, it is still considered almost a step-child of the so-called 'real' movie industry.
Gilda Liberty has returned to her family hometown of Eden, somewhere in southwestern Ohio. The Libertys were among the founders of the American Film industry, and since the very first of them, in the early 1900s, they've all been named for early film stars. In spite of the author's excellent descriptions and character studies, I'll bet you'll still find yourself conjuring up the appropriate mental image of Ollie and Douglas and Adele and Duke, to name just a few of the family you'll encounter. Gilda inherited the town's original movie theater, and is struggling to keep it going.
Imagine her surprise then, to discover yet another movie family - the Mayers of down near Dayton. She's never even heard of them, but will soon be nearly a part of their extended family, which will include Leo's first wife, a famous Black movie star, India Williams. Leo, you see, has early-middle Alzheimer's, and can't remember very much, but he does remember Auggie, and desperately wants to talk to him. Or her. The problem is, Leo has no way to release his memories to help anyone try to find Auggie, much less to be able to tell anyone just who--or what--is Auggie.
When a serious accident happens to Styles, the female detective friend of Gilda, and several near-misses occur in or around the house now belonging to Leo and his current wife, Shirley--Gilda, Styles and a colorful group of friends work overtime trying to sort it all out. Along the way, we're treated to a very short dissertation on the deterioration of historic film, and the efforts expended by the Library of Congress to rescue these early films before they're all lost forever. The sadness of this previously unrealized situation, (less than half the movies made before 1950 still survive) coupled with the horrors facing the Alzheimer's patient and his or her family are offset by the running joke of Aunt Clara wanting to make a filmed comeback, and the eagerness of nearly every Liberty family member to produce the script. This is a wonderful book -- truly, I cannot recommend it highly enough, unless, of course, you don't like old movies. If, however, you like crossword puzzles, there is a film-oriented treat in each book.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
one of the best mystery books to deal with the film industry Feb. 8 2001
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Della Borton's mystery novels dealing with the wacky movie crazy Liberties and film industry is probably one of the best series that deals with that subject matter. And this series is based in Ohio, lending an even more off the wall wackiness to the whole thing. This time around Gilda Liberty dons her sleuthing cap to go to the aid of an almost relative suffering from Alzheimer's and who desperately needs to find someone before it's too late.
Gilda runs the Palace cinema and one afternoon Leo Mayer, a likeable old man walks into her cinema, claiming to have once made movies. Gilda then meets Leo's daughter-in-law, who informs Gilda that Leo has Alzheimer's. Gilda feels sorry for Leo and beyond confirming that Leo is a relative of sorts, she more or less puts the whole incident out of her mind until she gets a 'phone call from Styles, a detective she's had dealings with in previous mysteries. Styles had been hired by Leo's third wife, Shirley, to try and find someone Leo seems desperate to get in touch with. The only clue they have is a name: Auggie. No one seems to have any idea of whom "Auggie" may be, and when Styles descends into the basement to go through Leo's files and computer, she trips over a wire stretched across the stairs and falls, injuring herself rather badly. So Syles recriuts Gilda to do some sleuthing for her. It soon becomes apparent to everyone that someone either has it in for Leo or Shirley, as a string of accidents dog the pair. Is someone trying to prevent the Mayers from finding "Auggie" or is one of Leo's or Shirley's children trying to get to their bequests early?
This was a really enjoyable mystery. Della Borton realisticly gives the reader an insight as to what living with someone suffering from Alzheimer's entails as well as a look at the early years of movie making. And the search for "Auggie" was gripping as well, eventhough I more or less was able to deduce who Auggie was halfway through th novel. (But then I'm a PBS junky). As usual the shenanigans that the wacky movie crazed Liberty tribe gets up, not only provides a side order of comedic relief but also makes for great and enjoyable reading. This is a really fun series, and so far none of the three books in the series have disappointed. So if you' re a fan of movie making, give this series a go. You'll really enjoy it.

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