Geoff Nicholson: The Hollywood Dodo
Geoff Nicholson is one of the few current writers whose books I always buy, always read and always enjoy. They are always clever and inventive and humorous. They always have as twist and even if, as with this book, the ending is occasionally a bit weak, they are still a good read.
This one is three stories which are intimately related. The first concerns a 17th century Londoner, William Draper, who is studying medicine and becomes the owner of what may well have been the last dodo. Rick McCartney is a would-be American film-maker, who wants to make a film about 17th century London, involving the dodo and, in a past life regression, finds himself on Draper’s trail. Caught up in some sexual intrigue in London when investigating the dodo, he flees back to Los Angeles. On the flight he has a panic attack and is assisted by an overweight English doctor, Henry Cadwallader, who is going to Los Angeles with his daughter, Dorothy, to help her start a film career. Of course, as this is Nicholson, everyone and everything intertwines. The mild-mannered Henry has an affair with a former film actress turned realtor, accidentally kills Dorothy’s contact in Hollywood and deliberately kills a porn producer who has ruined the career of the actress and is set to ruin to McCartney’s career.
While this book is highly enjoyable and very clever, it also does, of course, point out both the dark side of modern Los Angeles and 17th century London, with its disease, death and superstition. But, as always with Nicholson, you have the feeling that the dark side is part of the fun and not meant to be taken seriously.
First published 2004 by Serpent’s Tail