THE CONFIDENCE MAN
A mysterious young confidence man named Billy Dice arrives in Venice, California in 1928, claiming he can turn stones to bees. Billy also comes carrying a curse. He says he will die unless he can find true love—and find it soon. Is he a con man or is he telling the truth? With Billy, it's hard to tell. Like Elwood P. Dowd and Harvey, Billy, with his old-fashioned charm and ease, invites the reader to embrace just a little bit of magic. Desperate for rent money, Billy agrees to become the chauffeur-bodyguard for a spoiled young actor named Frank (Gary) Cooper whose womanizing ways always seem to land him in trouble. Entering the glamorous world of early Hollywood, Billy falls for a gorgeous, spunky, world-traveler named Nell Devereaux who also happens to be the lover of a powerful Cuban dictator. Finally, he has found the love that will save him. Or has he?
Orphaned and penniless in the Paris of 1899, fourteen-year-old Ned Arnheim is taken in by a mysterious, enigmatic international confidence woman named Mrs. Nevermore, who may or may not be a sorcière – a witch. Ned is blessed – or cursed – with a curious power called the Strange. If he concentrates hard enough, he can levitate and move objects around. This “power of the Strange” allows him to see into the Other World where lurk strange creatures known as gargoyles, and where there is a talking falcon named Peregrine. When Mrs. Nevermore finds Ned’s sketches of the Eiffel Tower, they provide the inspiration for an audacious confidence scheme that will make them rich – sell the Eiffel Tower! Ned decides he has to stop her and that sets off a series of adventures filled with magic and mystery, chases through rat-infested sewers, attacks by winged creatures out of a boy’s worst nightmares, all set against the glamorous, dangerous backdrop that is the world’s most enchanting city on the verge of a new century.
A young woman’s body is discovered at the bottom of the escarpment. Did she jump? Or was she pushed? Former Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Jean Whitlock has returned in disgrace to Milton, Ontario, the town west of Toronto where she grew up. She has come back to care for her dying mother and help her withdrawn brother, Bryce, run the family funeral business. At the same time, Jean can’t help but be drawn into the mystery surrounding the woman’s death. Her future uncertain, her life suddenly in danger, Jean must overcome powerful forces arrayed against her in order to uncover the town’s secrets as well as the truth of her own family’s dark past.
The Escarpment is a page-turning thriller from Ron Base, author of the Sanibel Sunset Detective mystery novels. It is the first in a series of Milton Mysteries featuring Jean Whitlock.