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Monday, May 23, 2011

Recently read: "Bride of the Rat God" by Barbara Hambly

Bride of the Rat God

I started reading Hambly early in her career (with The Time of the Dark series) since at that time I was still reading a lot of fantasy.  I stopped reading her as my reading became more concentrated on Science Fiction, though I did pick up some of her Benjamin January books as I became interested in the occasional historical mystery.

Much of her back list has recently become available in digital formats, and I pick up a handful, including this one.  Written in 1994, I remember when the mass market paperback was on the shelves, and knew it was something a bit different.  Set in 1923 Hollywood, amidst the silent film industry, it has star Chrysanda Flamande, a diva who has her widowed sister-in-law Nora living with her (and serving as her gal Friday, I suppose, whose job is mainly looking after the three Pekingese dogs that Chrysanda dotes on).  There's a horrific murder of an attractive stunt man (could the killer be her older, gay co-star?) and the arrival of a mysterious Chinese man warning of the coming of the Rat God.

I know next to nothing about early Hollywood, but it appears that Hambly did her research, and it feels right in the book.  There's a lot of info about filming which is fun.  The primary viewpoint character is Nora, who is still nursing the hurt of her husband's death, though the attention of a cameraman will brighten her spirits, as will the chance to do some screenwriting.

This is basically a B-movie, in book form, and as such is a lot of fun.

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