These books are a pip! (click on the red letters to buy…) A perfect holiday gift for your favorite fan of old Hollywood. Excerpt below:
The Garden on Sunset
by Martin Turnbull
GARDEN OF ALLAH HOTEL
8152 Sunset Boulevard
Marcus set his suitcase down in the dust and stared at the gold letters of Allah. He didn’t expect Sunset Boulevard to be a dirt track and he certainly didn’t expect to find a hotel sign out front of Alla Nazimova’s movie star mansion.
He peered at the hotel past the sign. It was painted the same cream as the garden wall, with tall, arched windows with dark brown shutters. It looked like the California missions he’d studied in high school.
He pulled out a handkerchief and swiped his broad forehead, round cheeks and the back of his neck. It was hard to believe this was January. Back home, they’d be shoveling the driveway, but here there wasn’t even a cool breeze. He picked up his suitcase and made his way past a long bed of pale roses and into the white hotel.
The murky foyer had paneled walls and octagonal avocado-green tiles the size of dinner plates. The reception desk would have been hard to spot without the lamp casting a pool of amber light on it. Its stained-glass shade was a kitschy pyramid with a sphinx and a clump of palm trees. There was no one in sight.
Marcus rang the bell. Laughter and clinking glasses wafted through the double doors that opened onto a wide brick path to a swimming pool curved like a grand piano at the far end. A crowd too large to count was scattered around it in knots of fours and fives; a hundred, two hundred people, maybe. Shiny tuxedos, sparkling diamonds, ropes of pearls, patent leather shoes.
Marcus gaped at a clutch of women dancing the Black Bottom. Their short hair, high hemlines and cigarettes were a far cry from the Pennsylvania Dutch girls he’d grown up with. A girl Marcus had known in McKeesport had turned up at a St. Stephen’s tea dance social with her hair bobbed like Louise Brooks and her stockings rolled down below her knees; she hadn’t lasted ten minutes, and Marcus had never seen her again. Maybe she’d been run out of town too.