Saturday, April 3, 2021

"Valentino Will Die"

Donis Casey is the author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries, an award-winning series featuring the sleuthing mother of ten children, set in Oklahoma during the booming 1910s. Her first mystery, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book. Casey is a former teacher, academic librarian, and entrepreneur.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel Valentino Will Die, the sequel to The Wrong Girl, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“I’m glad that the doctor knows to look for poison,” Bianca said.

“I told him about Rudy’s fears right away, even before the operation. I like Meeker. I think that if there’s anything unnatural to find, he’ll find it.”

She didn’t have a chance to comment before Meeker emerged and crooked a finger at her. “You may go in, Miss LaBelle. Against my better judgment. He’s awake and knows you’re here and insists on seeing you. Please don’t agitate him.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” Bianca didn’t want to give him time to reconsider. She disappeared into suite Q.

Meeker turned to George. “I examined the puncture wound Miss LaBelle mentioned. It is barely noticeable, almost completely healed. I took a swab from the area and will have it tested. However, I don’t believe it has anything to do with Mr. Valentino’s condition.”

“Well, I suppose that’s good, but now we’re right back where we started.”

“Miss LaBelle seems to think there’s a possibility that Mr. Valentino’s custom-made cigarettes may have been poisoned. I cannot imagine that they were, but she was quite adamant, so I told her I would send one to the lab and test for poison. Did he have a cigarette case on him when he came to the hospital?”

George gave the doctor a look that suggested he had lost his mind. “Cigarettes? I certainly wasn’t thinking about bringing his cigarettes when I was riding with him in the ambulance. You can’t seriously think...”

“Probably not. But given the laboratory results that I’ve already shared with you, I don’t intend to leave any stone unturned.”
The Page 69 test works well for this book. It’s an interesting turning point in the story, and gives the reader a taste of what’s at stake for the characters as well as a glimpse of my protagonist’s personality. Silent screen movie star Bianca LaBelle has come to New York City to be by the side of her dear friend and co-star Rudolph Valentino as he lay in the hospital on the brink of death. A few weeks earlier, after an intimate dinner at Bianca’s Beverly Hills mansion, Rudy confessed to her he had been receiving mysterious, threatening notes which said, “Valentino will die”. Now, after falling deathly ill in the middle of the publicity tour for his latest movie, he’s convinced he’s been poisoned, and has begged Bianca to come to New York to help discover who is trying to kill the world’s most famous screen lover. Page 69 opens in the middle of a conversation between Bianca and George Ullman, Valentino’s manager and agent, and then between Ullman and Rudy’s physician, Dr. Meeker, in the corridor outside Rudy’s hospital room.

Until now, no one but Bianca has put much stock in Rudy’s assertion that someone wants to kill him. She has been hounding Ullman and the doctor to conduct tests for poison, and the conversation between Ullman and Meeker on page 69 is the first hint the doctor has taken Bianca and Rudy’s worries seriously - and might have discovered something ominous.
Visit Donis Casey's website.

The Page 69 Test: Hell with the Lid Blown Off.

The Page 69 Test: All Men Fear Me.

The Page 69 Test: The Wrong Girl.

My Book, The Movie: Valentino Will Die.

--Marshal Zeringue