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Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister
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Dorothy Parker Drank Here

by Ellen Meister

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Dorothy Parker was a real person of 1920’s fame, but this is not historical fiction, per se. It is more about Norah Wolfe who works for TV talk show, Simon Janey Live. The company is failing and if they don’t soon secure a phenomenal interview with someone ultra-famous, the show will be cancelled. When Norah was thirteen, she’d read Dobson’s Night by famous author, Ted Shriver. The story resonated so much with her, she became obsessed with him. But several years ago, he seemed to drop off the face of the earth after a scathing accusation of plagiarism. She now knows he’s hiding out in a room at the Algonquin Hotel. She also knows he’s gone there to die as a brain tumor ravages his mind. She knows … OK, she’s hoping … that if she could get five minutes of his time, she could convince him to come forward in an interview.

It’s at this historic hotel Norah meets Dorothy (Dotty) Parker. At first Norah thought the hotel had hired ‘look-alikes’ to dress and act like the famous authors who’d signed the commemorative guest book. Those authors were dubbed ‘The Algonquin Round Table’. They used to lunch together frequently at The Algonquin during their day. Slowly, it begins to dawn on Norah that this is THE Dorothy Parker. Parker refuses to go to the light. She can remain in bodily form as long as the guest book remains open. Dorothy knows Ted and if she can get him to sign the guest book, he can keep her company after he dies. Everyone else has chosen to ‘cross over’. Dorothy conspires with Norah – her version of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’. Can they both get what they want?

Author Ellen Meister does a great job of carrying forth the wisecracks and classic witticism that would likely have come from Dorothy Parker’s mouth. It’s also a very moving and emotional story that I didn’t quite expect. I loved the cameo appearances made by Tallulah Bankhead, Lillian Hellman, Groucho Marx, and even Dotty’s poodle, Cliché. Just when you think you’ve got the story figured out, there’s a tender little twist that ‘ups the ante’ for the reader. This is Meister’s second Dorothy Parker book, the first being Farewell Dorothy Parker. It’s a fun, almost magical, journey into ‘what if’. Rating: 4 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | May 24, 2016 |
The premise I thought was kind of cute in the first one didn't really carry over in the second. ( )
  ethel55 | Mar 28, 2016 |
A dead lush, a dead creep, a broken man, a couple broken women, a cameo by Groucho Marx, and several more charismatic characters... put them together and you've found an interesting and enjoyable read! I had the ending figured out, and then I didn't... you've got to love when that happens. Did anything become obvious? Sure, but all in all, surprises abound! ( )
  bearlyr | Dec 28, 2015 |
This was an interesting story, and the "character" of Dorothy Parker, in ghost form, was rather fun. However, the other characters were just OK and the plot was somewhat draggy.
  hoosgracie | Sep 25, 2015 |
Norah Wolfe has a long standing obsession with has-been author Ted Shriver. When her mother gave her a copy of one of his books when she was 13, his words touched her so deeply she almost couldn’t finish the book. So when the TV show Norah works for gets canceled, she says she can get Shriver on the show, even though they’ve never met. This would be a big deal because many years ago, at the height of his fame, Shriver was accused of plagiarism. He never explained, and vanished from sight.

Shriver is staying at the Algonquin Hotel, home of the famous Algonquin Round Table during the 1920s. There is another guest at the hotel, too, one that while famous goes unnoticed by most. This is Dorothy Parker, in phantom form. She has chosen to stay in the hotel rather than passing on through the white light, and is desperately lonely. She wants to make a deal with Shriver, too.

Shriver, for his part, doesn’t give a damn about either woman. He’s dying of a brain tumor, feels that’s best for the world, and just wants to be left alone in his hotel room with his Vicodin and booze.

There is a great deal of running around; of deals made and deals broken with an ex-wife, an ex-best friend, the ex-best friend’s wife, the sister of the deceased hotel manager, and more. Most everyone is at cross purposes and it’s a miracle anything gets accomplished. It does, though, even though it doesn’t work out the way anyone envisioned. It’s a fun little book, and Meister seems to have Parker’s voice down pat. While most of the plot revolves around Shriver and Norah, Parker is really the star of the book. Which is as it should be. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Apr 23, 2015 |
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In loving memory of

Michael Palmer,

who still inspires me every day
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Death was like a bowl of soup.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399166874, Hardcover)

The acid-tongued Dorothy Parker is back and haunting the halls of the Algonquin with her piercing wit, audacious voice, and unexpectedly tender wisdom.

Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, drink in hand, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity.

After forty years she thinks she’s found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, silenced early in a promising career by a devastating plagiarism scandal. Now a prickly recluse, he hides away in the old hotel slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. If she can just convince him to sign the infamous guestbook of Percy Coates, Dorothy Parker might be able to persuade the jaded writer to spurn the white light with her. Ted, however, might be the only person living or dead who’s more stubborn than Parker, and he rejects her proposal outright.  

When a young, ambitious TV producer, Norah Wolfe, enters the hotel in search of Ted Shriver, Parker sees another opportunity to get what she wants. Instead, she and Norah manage to uncover such startling secrets about Ted’s past that the future changes for all of them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:04 -0400)

"The acid-tongued Dorothy Parker is back and haunting the halls of the Algonquin with her piercing wit, audacious voice, and unexpectedly tender wisdom. Heavenly peace? No, thank you. Dorothy Parker would rather wander the famous halls of the Algonquin Hotel, drink in hand, searching for someone, anyone, who will keep her company on this side of eternity. After forty years she thinks she's found the perfect candidate in Ted Shriver, a brilliant literary voice of the 1970s, silenced early in a promising career by a devastating plagiarism scandal. Now a prickly recluse, he hides away in the old hotel slowly dying of cancer, which he refuses to treat. If she can just convince him to sign the infamous guestbook of Percy Coates, Dorothy Parker might be able to persuade the jaded writer to spurn the white light with her. Ted, however, might be the only person living or dead who's more stubborn than Parker, and he rejects her proposal outright. When a young, ambitious TV producer, Norah Wolfe, enters the hotel in search of Ted Shriver, Parker sees another opportunity to get what she wants. Instead, she and Norah manage to uncover such startling secrets about Ted's past that the future changes for all of them. "--… (more)

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