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In 1984, writing under the pseudonym Margaret Tracy, Klavan won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for Mrs. White. Nowtwo decades later and best known as the librettist for the Obie Award-winning musical Bed and Sofa-Klavan has produced this wry, whimsically romantic crime novel. Brimming with engaging tidbits of movie trivia, it is narrated in the self-effacing voice of its bumbling, endearing hero, Roy Milano, publisher of Trivial Man, a cultish movie trivia newsletter sold through bookstores and video outlets around the Big Apple. (To make ends meet, Roy freelances as a typesetter.) Receiving a call from the host of a cable TV film trivia show who claims he has the never-released uncut original of Orson Welles's masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons, Roy rushes across town to find the host murdered and the film missing. Obsessed with finding this long-lost magnum opus and believing the murderer intends to deliver it to Ben Williams (aging action film star of the Cause Pain series, who wants to remake Orson Welles's Citizen Kane), Roy-with a simpatico female companion-follows the trail to L.A. and stumbles on another murder. From L.A., Williams sends Roy to Barcelona to find Erendira, the beautiful actress who Williams claims has stolen the film. In Spain, Roy discovers evidence linking Erendira intimately to Orson Welles. Then Williams is murdered and Roy returns to L.A. to negotiate more twists than a Mulholland Drive tour bus driver. This tongue-in-cheek whodunit marks the long overdue second coming of a gifted novelist.
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Roy Milano, publisher of a movie-trivia newsletter, like his loose-knit community of "trivial people," lives more in the movies than real life. But when a cinematic holy grail surfaces--Orson Welles' legendary original cut of The Magnificent Ambersons, thought to have been lost forever--the "hard-boiled nerd" is desperate to retrieve it and soon finds himself enmeshed in a real-life mystery with a movielike plot. A murder in New York's trivial community leads to L.A and an action star planning to remake Citizen Kane, then to Barcelona in search of a beautiful, mysterious bit player. Milano is an engaging character, from his self-deprecating self-assessment to his compulsive habit of remembering film trivia when he gets nervous. And Klavan's touch is playful and deft, which is good because his target, Hollywood, is an oft-pricked one. But if skewering the rich and shallow is easy sport, many readers will nonetheless agree with the hero that movies often need to be saved from those who make them. A great bit of escapism for film and mystery buffs alike. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
This was a great concept for a book. But it turns into a zany comic novel that never lives up to the concept. Read morePublished on May 8 2004 by R. Boyd
You can't beat this thing for sheer entertainment. I won't recap the plot or cast the movie (except to offer Jack Black as the hero, NOT Ben Stiller) and say only that if you like... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004
There is a whole culture of "Trivial People," men and women who are linked by a common interest in movie arcana. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004 by Harriet Klausner