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William J. Mann’s Tinseltown Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood (HarperCollins, Oct. 2014) has picked up the prestigious Edgar Award for the best Fact Crime book of 2014.
The Edgars are the Oscars of the mystery book world and are given annually by the Mysery Writers of America.
Pitched as doing for Hollywood what Devil in the White City did for Chicago, the bestselling book is about the unsolved 1922 murder of William Desmond Taylor, the well-regarded president of the Motion Picture Directors Association. The cast of characters includes Paramount founder Adolph Zukor, actresses Mabel Normand, Margaret Gibson and Mary Miles Minter and Will Hays, the man behind the motion picture censorship code. Mann, drawing on recently opened FBI files, actually claims to know who did it, potentially bringing closure to one of the great unsolved crimes in Hollywood history.
Rights to the book were picked up by Aaron Kaplan and Kapital Entertainment with Tracy Katsky attached with an eye to developing it as TV series. The first season would focus on the Taylor murder.
Mann’s other books include Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn, Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand; and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines.
Other winners at the April 29 ceremony in New York included The Happy Valley pilot for best TV episode and Stephen King’s Mr. Meredes for best novel.
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