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Adventures of Augie Fowler

Adventures of Augie Fowler

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Adventures of Augie Fowler

101 pagine
1 ora
Mar 31, 2011


Four short stories that bring to center stage Augie Fowler, the significant sidekick in the Derringer Award-winning author’s “Affairs” series built around Los Angeles newspaper columnist Neil Gulliver and his ex-wife, “Sex Queen of the Soaps” Stephanie (Stevie) Marriner. Only here it’s the younger Augie of years ago, connecting to Hollywood stars and a show business that no longer exists in adventures that originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Mar 31, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

ROBERT S. LEVINSON, bestselling author of eight novels, The Traitor in Us All, In the Key of Death, Where the Lies Begin, Ask a Dead Man, Hot Paint, The James Dean Affair, The John Lennon Affair, The Elvis and Marilyn Affair. A regular contributor to Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines. Cited annual EQMM Awards poll three times. His Hitchcock short story, "The Quick Brown Fox," a 2009 Derringer Award winner. His fiction has appeared in “year’s best” anthologies six consecutive years, non-fiction in Rolling Stone, Writers Guild of America’s Written By Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways Magazine, Autograph Magazine. His ninth novel, A Rhumba in Waltz Time, scheduled for August 2011. More:

Correlato a Adventures of Augie Fowler

Anteprima del libro

Adventures of Augie Fowler - Robert S. Levinson



Short Stories By


And the Winner Is

Chapter 82: Myrna Lloyd is Missing

The Eleven O’clock Number

A Prisoner of Memory


Copyright 2011 by Robert S. Levinson

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author

About Augie Fowler

I introduced August Kalman Fowler in THE ELVIS AND MARILYN AFFAIR, the first of my four Affair novels tracking the exploits of Los Angeles newspaper columnist Neil Gulliver and his ex-wife, actress Stephanie (Stevie) Marriner, at that time the reigning Sex Queen of the Soaps.

Augie had grown up in a show business family, did his own stint as a stage performer and in the movie business, was Neil’s mentor dating back to his years as a newspaper crime beat reporter, and now, in his early seventies, was a robust, vibrant, one-eyed, cassock-wearing Brother Kalman, founder of the curious, quasi-religious Order of the Spiritual Brothers of the Rhyming Heart.

His full, deeply lined and leathery face (I wrote at the time) showed the bumps and blue veins of the chronic drinker he no longer was, although he was bound to be carrying a hip flask of some exotic brandy somewhere, for the occasional nip he would never admit to having."

Augie papered the walls of his Order, located in a double-decker Spanish hacienda that sat on a hilltop overlooking Griffith Park, with oils by western artists Frederic Remington and Charlie Russell. Drove a fire-engine-red Rolls Royce. Owned an ego that towered above the Matterhorn. Tolerated little if any contradiction from anyone but (grudgingly) Neil and, perhaps surprisingly, captured and kept the friendship of just about everyone he ever encountered.

He’s a significant sidekick in the four novels, but the stories here follow a younger Augie during some of the earliest phases in his newspaper career, all with a connection to show business and a Hollywood that no longer exists. Enjoy!

—Robert S. Levinson


The little guy strutted into my boss-lady's suite in the Guaranty Building on Hollywood Boulevard like he owned the world, briefly checked around for signs of life before shouting for attention in a growl straight out of a Warner Bros. gangster movie, and at once was captured by the three-deep bank of framed and autographed photos of movie stars gracing the side wall of the modest reception lobby.

He stepped over and, with his body angled so that his red and blue-veined bulb of a nose almost touched the frames, alternated a rubber-lipped smile between big and bigger while tracing faces with an index finger and reciting inscriptions in an accented voice filled with awe, acting as if he'd discovered a long-lost chapter from the Old Testament.

"With all my love, Jimmy Stewart, he said. I love you like anything. Clark Gable. Here, look. Barrymore. With much love for her old and trust valued friend. Jack. He shook his head in disbelief and stepped away, calling Anybody home? Anybody?" Moved to the other side of the room to inspect the framed photos of Marie Dressler and Grace Moore, the only women Hedda Hopper allowed in her rogue's gallery of glamour boys of the silver screen.

He gave his nodding approval to an original sketch of a ballroom gown by Janet Gaynor's husband, Gilbert Adrian, and lingered over Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons until irritation got the best of him. I said friggin' anybody here or what, for Christ's sake? he said, his hooded eyes down to squints, taking in the walls one by one while he dug out a wafer-thin gold cigarette case from a jacket pocket of a wide-lapelled, double-breasted blue pinstripe suit that belonged on someone getting ready to shoot craps in Guys and Dolls.

He powered up a filter-tip with a flip-top Ronson and was filling the air with balloons of smoke as I emerged from behind the filigreed iron grill that separated the lobby from the narrow area I shared with the boss-lady's secretary, Treva, and wouldn't have been out of place in a pawn shop. Hedda's business manager and her secretary occupied private offices to our right. The door to the left of our desks fed into Hopper's sanctum-sanctorum, a space befitting the town's Queen of the Hollywood Gossip Columnists among those who didn't owe more fear or allegiance to her aging alcoholic rival, Louella O. Parsons.

Overall, the office suite blended the worst features of a messy city room, like Hearst's Examiner downtown, a dressing room at the Biltmore Theater or the El Capitan, and any junk shop anywhere, with Hedda's trademark predilection for bizarre hats in evidence everywhere, chapeaus in shapes and styles as outrageous as a Carmen Miranda fruit bowl on view or in hat boxes stacked seven and eight feet high on the faded linoleum flooring or piled on the sagging visitors couch. Shelves stacked with books and full of bric-a-brac. A broken lamp. An old, beat-up wooden desk pushed in a corner now the repository for piles of business mail and fan letters, notebooks, paste pots, magazines, makeup jars and accessories, and a pair of silk stockings with runs that had been there since the day I first came to work here, three years ago, a star-struck kid as wet behind the ears as the ink on my bachelor's degree from UCLA.

I said, Something I can do for you?

My voice startled him. His hand was halfway inside his jacket as he wheeled around to face me. I was ready to bet it was after a shoulder holster that would explain the tight fit and the bulge. I threw up my hands in surrender. He shot me a puzzled look to go with an insincere smile as he pulled back his hand and wagged an envelope. Got this message for Miss Hedda Hopper, private-like, so I got to deliver it to her in person. He checked over his shoulders. She around?

I held out my hand. Miss Hopper is gone for the day, Mr. Feldman, but I can take it and personally see that she gets it tomorrow.

Tomorrow too late, he said, drawing the envelope out of reach. My instructions, it got to be today. Then, suddenly realizing I had addressed him by name, he said, How'd you know me, kid? I know you from someplace? We met before?

I shook my head. I have a memory for names and faces, I said. I've seen your picture in the newspapers.

He couldn't disguise his pleasure at being recognized, even though the only times he'd been mentioned in print dealt with crimes the cops had attributed to his boss, mobster Mickey Cohen, including the recent disappearances of two or three Cohen rivals and one dead gangster found floating face down in Echo Park Lake, over by Aimee Semple McPherson's old Angelus Temple.

Feldman wasn't on the same level as Happy Meltzer, Lou Schwartz, Dave Ogul, or any other of Cohen's lieutenants, the Seven Dwarves,

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