The Case of the Flickering Star
A Mark Julian Vampire PI Mystery #11
In the early decades of Hollywood when, movies were still being referred to by some as The Flickers, no star had shone brighter on the silver screen than the luminously ethereal Amber Corrine Terry. In the supernatural world she was known as the Greek muse Thalia. Her romantic movies were always financial blockbusters and many a young man dreamt of making love to the ashen haired, wide-eyed beauty. By the mid 1920’s she was dubbed the Queen of Love. One of her biggest hits was the controversially notorious film, Nights in Babylon. In its cast was a young foreign actor named Marcus Caesarea making his first, and last, foray into films. Daring even by today’s standards, the movie shocked audiences and caused preachers to rail against the degeneracy of movies. Naturally it was also the biggest moneymaker of that decade.
As the twenties came to a close and while still at the very height of her fame, Amber retired from the screen. Many assumed it was the talkies that forced her, like so many other silent film stars, to bow out of acting. Yet others felt there was more behind her retirement. When her silent movies were lost in a studio warehouse fire, all that was left of her artistic contributions were some grainy publicity still photos from a few of her films.
Recently, her great granddaughter has launched her own successful movie career. The very image of her famous ancestor, young Amber is rapidly rising to the heights her namesake once held in Tinsel Town. But now something threatens the young ingénue. A message was sent to her claiming that a pristine and unedited copy of Nights Of Babylon has been discovered. Its finder has threatened Amber that they will show it to the world unless she makes certain payments.
Amber knows that if that film if seen it will prove she has more than a mere resemblance to the original Amber. In desperation, she hires Mark Julian to find the film it for her. For Mark this is more than a job. Back in the day, as a favor to his lover and Amber, he too had appeared in that movie under the name Marcus Caesarea. If that film is publicly seen it will not only be Amber who has some tricky questions to answer concerning uncanny resemblances. He would also prefer that Vinnie and especially Vinnie’s mother and her friend did not view Mark’s rather revealing performance during a certain orgy segment of the film. The hunt is on for Mark but, with Jean-Claude and Jaime visiting Europe to celebrate their cousin Laurent’s crowning, and a deadly killer on the loose, he is forced to seek assistance from a delighted Viola Lupa. Together this odd couple soon discovers that the other eight Greek Muses may not be so eager that the pair succeeds. It’s a madcap adventure as Mark recalls how, during his early days in Hollywood, he was seduced not only by the thrill of acting in a movie, but also by a certain sexy male actor into clearly showing an his family jewels in that film. Will Mark be able to help the Greek muse Thalia keep her secret as well as his own?