Summary

In Hollywood, a cynical writer recalls five faded beauties of the silver screen

Charlie Caine has been to too many Hollywood funerals. The studio system is long gone, and its stars—some forgotten, some preserved for display on a late-night show—are beginning to pass on, as well. Only a few turn out for the final performance of Babe Austrian, a peroxide-blond beauty whose red-hot talkies changed the way America thought about sex. As he gazes into her coffin, Caine remembers Babe as she was: a dynamite beauty with secrets that could have burned Hollywood to the ground.

In Babe and four other interlocking novellas, Caine recalls the leading ladies of long-lost Hollywood: Belinda, whose daughter was as cruel as she was lovely; Claire, who would do anything to stay in the public eye; April, fragile, beautiful, and mad; and Maude, Hollywood’s most respected matron, whose happy marriage had a lie at its heart. Charlie Caine knows where cinema’s bodies are buried, and he’s anxious to start digging.

“One unforgettable novel with the power to shock . . . very believable . . . those who are given to such sport will find pleasure in guessing which real-life actresses Tryon has used as models.” —The Washington Post

“You can’t put this book down to save your life. . . . That’s entertainment.” —New York Post

“A book with a blast. . . . Tryon unleashes an avalanche of soundstage legend/rumor/speculations with a telltale flair and a great sense of fun.” —The Hollywood Reporter

Thomas Tryon (1926–1991), actor turned author, made his bestselling debut with The Other (1971), which spent nearly six months on the New York Times bestseller list and allowed him to quit acting for good; a film adaptation, with a screenplay by Tryon and directed by Robert Mulligan, appeared in 1972. Tryon wrote two more novels set in the fictional Pequot Landing of The OtherHarvest Home (1973) and Lady (1974). Crowned Heads (1976) detailed the lives of four fictional film stars and All That Glitters (1986) explored the dark side of the golden age of Hollywood. Night Magic (published posthumously in 1995) was a modern-day retelling of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

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