A Valentino Mystery

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Bela Lugosi's Frankenstein screen test puts Valentino in the picture for murder

Everyone knows the Frankenstein monster was played by Boris Karloff. His portrayal is so famous that the play Arsenic and Old Lace was filled with Karloff/monster jokes--even when the part of the monstrously deformed villain was played by another actor. But before Karloff's memorable portrayal, another famous 1930s Hollywood icon, Bela Lugosi, tested for the part of the monster.

The screen test footage was lost for decades, until Valentino, that never-say-die film archivist, gets a hot tip about the whereabouts of the incriminating (for really bad, heavily accented acting) footage. But it comes with a price far greater than the money he'll have to pay. Someone would kill to get that reel of film, and that makes Valentino a mortal obstacle who would rather not die for art. People have already been murdered for the film, and Val doesn't want to push his luck...but boy,that reel is too good to let go....

Enter a crew of steampunk fans. Loving the arcane strangeness that is Valentino's life--not to mention the completely glam prospect of seeing the original filmic Count Dracula as the Frankenstein monster--they will find a way to save Valentino and Lugosi's infamous screen test. Or if they can't do that, have a great party anyway. Val just hopes it's not a wake....
In Alive!, Loren D. Estleman delivers a mystery that only he can.

Publisher: New York : Forge Books, c2013.
ISBN: 9780765333315
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY EST
Characteristics: 284 p. ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 02, 2016

A fun read especially for those who enjoy old horror movies. The mystery is pretty good, but the Hollywood tidbits are what I really found interesting. I did not know that Bela Lugosi had done a screen test for the role of Frankenstein in the 1931 movie. The dialogue is zippy and clever and I liked the addition of the steampunk kids. Estleman includes a bibliography and filmography at the end which gave me some more books to put on my "to read" shelf and made me want to revisit some of these old horror films. A fast and enjoyable mystery! I am going to read the first two books in the Valentino series too.

ChristchurchLib May 13, 2013

"By the Shamus Award-winning author of Alone." May 2013 Thrillers and Suspense newsletter

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top