The Unkindness of Strangers
Author: Peter S. Fischer
Published: March 6, 2012 by The Grove Point Press
Series Name: The Hollywood Murder Mysteries
Main Character: Joe Bernardi
Warner Brothers is getting it from all sides and Joe Bernardi seems to be everybody’s favorite target. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is unproducible, they say. Too violent, too seedy, too sexy, too controversial and what’s worse, it’s being directed by that well-known pinko, Elia Kazan. To make matters worse, the country’s number one hate monger, newspaper columnist Bryce Tremayne, is coming after Kazan with a vengeance and nothing Joe can do or say will stop him. A vicious expose column is set to run in every Hearst paper across the nation on the upcoming Sunday but a funny thing happens Friday night. Tremayne is found in a compromising condition behind the wheel of his car, a bullet hole between his eyes. Come Sunday and the scurrilous attack on Kazan does not appear. Rumors fly. Kazan is suspected but he’s not the only one with a motive. Consider: • Elvira Tremayne, the unloved widow. Did Tremayne slug her one time too many? • Hubbell Cox, the world weary flunky, whose homosexuality made him a target of derision. • Willie Babbitt, the muscle. He does what he’s told and what he’s told to do is often unpleasant. • Jenny Coughlin, Tremayne’s private secretary. But how private and what was her secret agenda? • Jed Tompkins, Elvira’s father, a rich Texas cattle baron, who had only contempt for his son-in-law. • Boyd Larrabee, the bookkeeper, hired by Tompkins to win Cox’s confidence and report back anything he’s learned. • Annie Petrakis, studio makeup artist. Tremayne destroyed her lover. Has she returned the favor?