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The Sepia Siren Killer by Richard A. Lupoff
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The fourth book in a series about an insurance agent and his policewoman girlfriend who solve murder mysteries. (I think; I haven't read the previous books.) This one has a lot to do with the movies made by and for Afro-Americans in the 1920s - 1940s. While the book is a work of fiction, the author's note at the end gives some information and book suggestions about black cinema.

some quotes:
Tony Reveaux makes the novel sound science-fiction-y; it isn't:
In The Sepia Siren Killer, lost and found strips of film, vignettes of memory and acts of will flicker and flow in a montage of alternate realities. [Introduction, p. v]

A quick description of the previous books in the series (I think) and an explanation of why people (including me) collect things:
Lindsey had dealt with scholars and collectors before. Whether their passion was for forty-year-old comic books or fifty-year-old airplanes or seventy-five-year-old cars, their minds all worked in similar ways. They felt that human achievement was bound in the artifacts of human creation, that the preservation and ownership of those artifacts kept civilization on the rails of time. To lose the things of the past was to lose the past itself, and to lose civilization's compass. [p. 99]

on believing and living:
"Huh. Must be nice to have such faith."
"It is. Sometimes you need it,Bart. Sometimes you need to believe things that you know aren't true." [p. 221]

things are seldom what they seem, but Wikipedia confirms this so it must be true! I remember seeing Ricardo Cortez in Symphony of Six Million (1932), a movie about a Jewish doctor from the Lower East Side of New York and wondering why he had been cast for the role:
"Ricardo Cortez was Jake Krantz. From Brooklyn. It was common practice in those days to make up a glamorous biography for new movie stars." [p. 245] ( )
  raizel | Nov 17, 2015 |
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The corpse was still warm when Hobart Lindsey arrived.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312113323, Hardcover)

When MacReedy cashes an ancient insurance policy, nobody remembers that he was a pioneer black filmmaker--at least, not until the fire at Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive proves to be arson. By the author of The Bessie Blue Killer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:06 -0400)

The black-and-white team of investigators, Marvia Plum and Hobart Lindsey, probe an arson fire which was set to destroy the records of a famous black film director. Lots of information on black film-making in Hollywood.

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