The Fame Thief (A Junior Bender Mystery)
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THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED, LAUGH-OUT-LOUD THIRD INSTALLMENT
OF THE FAN-FAVORITE JUNIOR BENDER MYTERIES
There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood’s scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler’s henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a “crime” he believes was committed more than seventy years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Los Vegas party. Dressler wants justice for Dolores and the shining career she never had.
Junior can’t help but think the whole thing is a little crazy. After all, it’s been seventy years. Even if someone did set Dolores up for a fall from grace back then, they’re probably long dead now. But he can't say no to Irwin Dressler (no one can, really). So he starts digging. And what he finds is that some vendettas never die—they only get more dangerous.
peace in Santa Barbara, and lived very quietly. But, in the interest of time, let me get back to my story. The funny thing was that it wasn’t Winnie who got me involved with organized crime. It was George Raft.” “I remember George—” “Georgie was dumb,” she said. She was looking down into her empty glass as though she could see tiny figures from the past in it. “A sweet man and great in the sack, but dumb as a bag of nuts. I was never sure he could actually read or write. I know he had his movie
“Listen, before I go, tell me what you know about these people.” I read him the names Dolores La Marr had given me: the screenwriter, Oriole Finlayson; the gossip columnist, Melly Crain; the Vegas editor and P.R. woman, Abe Frank and Delilah Polland. “Oriole wrote Hell’s Sisters and a half-dozen other pretty good movies. I liked her. She knew how to keep a story tight without all the machinery showing. She alive?” “As of last night.” “Well, good. Melly was a psychotic with a byline, in bed
embarrassment at the pleasure she was taking in the moment. “You must have wanted something, or you wouldn’t be here.” “I want to know who’s doing your P.R.” “I’ll bet you do.” “These reviews. They’re reviewing the movie they were told about, not the movie they saw.” “Olivia, I have a car coming in ten minutes. Don’t you have an acting class or something?” Livvy turned back to the shelves beside Dolly’s favorite window. She picked up one of the ivory miniatures. “Who gives these to you?”
pop open again. “That’s enough of me, right? But I was faster than anybody she ever knew, I thought faster, I moved faster. People like the Millyards, they looked at a situation and they saw two, maybe three ways to handle it. I looked at the same thing and saw ten. Of course, some of them involved fucking people up.” “I married one, too,” I said. “Not that kind of upper crust, but too upper for me.” “We’re mutts, you and me. I know, I know, mutts, that’s garbage, that idea. I mean, whadda they
shot?” she asked. “An actress. Olivia Dupont.” “Whoa,” Debbie said. “She played that bitch with the whip.” “You’re not old enough to remember that.” “Cable. Everything’s on cable. So the guy on the bed, he was a gangster, right? What was she doing there, a personal appearance?” “Sort of. She was married to the dead guy in the bed. And she’d been pretending to be someone’s secretary. Boss’s orders, or maybe her own orders, I don’t know.” Debbie said, “Pretending to be? Was there a real