Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Review of Keystone by Peter Lovesey (Sphere, 2013; orig pub 1983)
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.