Warwick Easton is a cop - a movie cop, that is. When this vaudevillian lands in California, his screen prospects look bleak. But a bathtub meeting with Mack Sennett, lands him a stunts-and-chases job. Danger is to be expected in the work of Keystone Cops - but murder is quite another thing.Put a solemn Englishman into police uniform and thrust him into the crazy world of KWarwick Easton is a cop - a movie cop, that is. When this vaudevillian lands in California, his screen prospects look bleak. But a bathtub meeting with Mack Sennett, lands him a stunts-and-chases job. Danger is to be expected in the work of Keystone Cops - but murder is quite another thing.Put a solemn Englishman into police uniform and thrust him into the crazy world of Keystone Film Studios in 1916 and you have the premise for this novel. The King of Comedy, Mack Sennett, insists on calling the new cop Keystone. But comedy turns swiftly to crime. Shocking things occur that are not in any script – a horrific death on a rollercoaster, a body in a bungalow, the disappearance of a girl, a shooting on a beach.Keystone the cop gets on the trail. His mission: to find the adorable and much abused blonde actress, Amber Honeybee. The action is threaded through the real stories of silent comedy stars Mack Sennett, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Mabel Normand....
|Number of Pages||:||255 Pages|
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It's difficult to find a novel about the early days of Hollywood that gets certain bits right. Either it's all played for "oh look at the quaint old-timey filmmakers," or it's anachronistically modern. Peter Lovesey managed to hit just the right note to make this story entertaining, but not silly or implausible. Keystone is actually a solemn young man named Easton, who is renamed by his new boss, Mack Sennett. As the newest of the Keystone Cops, he is on the periphery as a gruesome death occurs on set during the filming of a Mabel Normand comedy. That's just the beginning. From there we are treated to layers of intrigue, secrets and separated loyalties. From the lovely way that Roscoe (his friends never called him "Fatty") Arbuckle is portrayed to the depiction of the landscape of Southern California one hundred years ago, Keystone is fun, funny, interesting and a thoroughly commendable offering to keep one entertained on a rainy afternoon.
I always read novels about historic Hollywood with a jaundiced eye, but i have to say that "Keystone," is a real delight. Good mystery, and the detail and backgrond on Mack Sennett, the Keystone Film Company, and the times (ca. 1915) were pretty much spot on.
Warwick Easton shows up at Keystone studios looking for an acting job. He gets called Keystone and becomes a Keystone Cop in a comedy series. He meets Amber, a woman with small parts, and becomes enamored with her. Keystone watches a filming and sees one of the Keystone cops die when his stunt didn't work right. Then someone uses his car in a stunt which damages it severely. Then he is knocked out and tied up in a beach house. When he gets home it has been thoroughly searched. When Amber is missing and her hair is found in his car, he knows he has something someone is looking for.
Keystone is a historical crime story set in Los Angeles in 1916, specifically focusing on the Keystone Studio. Whilst firmly a piece of fiction it includes a number of real-life characters including the studio owner, Mack Sennett, and actors Mabel Normand, Roscoe Arbuckle, Harry Gribbon, Mack Swain, and a number of the Keystone Cops. The two lead fictional characters are Warwick Easton and Amber Honeybee, neither of whom are particularly likeable: Easton being solemn, defensive, snooty, and standoffish; Amber, overly ambitious, lacking in talent, devious and opportunist, and stubborn. Easton is smitten, but the relationship is mostly platonic, with him trailing round after and defending her. The tale unfolds at nice pace, the prose is light and breezy, and the plot is interesting without being captivating. I had a good idea as to the culprits, though not the reason why events were unfolding as they were. Overall, a good setting and idea, and it help pass a few hours pleasantly enough.
I found the characters to be unpleasant - the Englishman "Keystone" was condescending and aloof at best, his relationship with Amber Honeybee only ever seemed superficial. She was as shallow and inconsequential as one could be - not even showing any emotion when her own mother was killed. The whole plot of "who's breaking in/killing/kidnapping etc.?" did not particularly interest me, it seemed secondary to the general setting of an early 20th century film studio and the people who worked there (and, as I've said, none of whom were likeable!)
As an insight to old time Hollywood, or at least how it is perceived to have been, this is rather entertaining. Peter Lovesey has a skill where his writing flows and sucks you in.However, speaking personally I much prefer his English locations and in particular the Peter Diamond series.Would I recommend this book, well yes, but it is unlike what I call ‘normal Lovesey’.
I really liked it! Like going on a fun adventure ride with over-the-top but believable characters.
A great crime mystery that takes place during the silent film era. Love it!
Mystery seriesDid not like the writing style or characters. Set in the 1920's on a Mack Sennet movie set. Pharmacy reference - character's father owns a pharmacy in San Francisco.