cover image THE CUTTING ROOM


Laurence Klavan, . . Ballantine, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-345-46274-9

In 1984, writing under the pseudonym Margaret Tracy, Klavan won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for Mrs. White . Now—two decades later and best known as the librettist for the Obie Award–winning musical Bed and Sofa —Klavan has produced this wry, whimsically romantic crime novel. Brimming with engaging tidbits of movie trivia, it is narrated in the self-effacing voice of its bumbling, endearing hero, Roy Milano, publisher of Trivial Man , a cultish movie trivia newsletter sold through bookstores and video outlets around the Big Apple. (To make ends meet, Roy freelances as a typesetter.) Receiving a call from the host of a cable TV film trivia show who claims he has the never-released uncut original of Orson Welles's masterpiece The Magnificent Ambersons , Roy rushes across town to find the host murdered and the film missing. Obsessed with finding this long-lost magnum opus and believing the murderer intends to deliver it to Ben Williams (aging action film star of the Cause Pain series, who wants to remake Orson Welles's Citizen Kane ), Roy—with a simpatico female companion—follows the trail to L.A. and stumbles on another murder. From L.A., Williams sends Roy to Barcelona to find Erendira, the beautiful actress who Williams claims has stolen the film. In Spain, Roy discovers evidence linking Erendira intimately to Orson Welles. Then Williams is murdered and Roy returns to L.A. to negotiate more twists than a Mulholland Drive tour bus driver. This tongue-in-cheek whodunit marks the long overdue second coming of a gifted novelist. (Feb. 3)