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Hilary takes on a pair of mysteries--one fictional, and one all too realIn college, Hilary Quayle dreamed of the stage, and playing all the great leading ladies that Shakespeare had to offer. But her interest was due less to the Bard than to another man: director, actor, and theatrical personality Michael Godwin. And though she got her wish, she found that acting onstage and romancing backstage did not add up to happiness. A decade past college, she's now a publicity wizard and occasional sleuth, but still nursing enough of a schoolgirl crush to help Michael Godwin when he calls. The director is in New York to stage a spectacular, arena-sized Macbeth, one that will answer the centuries-old question: Who is the mysterious third murderer who appears in Act III? When accidents begin to plague the production, Godwin and his company chalk it up to the play's curse. But when a real murderer enters the scene, only Hilary Quayle can guarantee a happy ending.
Around the world, the dragon has been reborn in modern fantasy fiction. The classic winged fire-breathing reptiles often associated with evil (they do despoil villages and demand virgin sacrifices, after all) tend nowadays to be more kindly disposed to humanity, sometimes aloofly offering magical wisdom, sometimes actively involving themselves in human lives, whether as a servant or friend. In this volume, originally compiled exclusively for the members of the Science Fiction Book Club and not available in stores, editor Marvin Kaye has skillfully gathered brand- new contributions to the hoard of dragon lore by five top fantasy authors. Orson Scott Card-an expert at writing from a child's point of view, as evidenced in his bestselling Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow-offers a gothic yarn "In the Dragon's House" set in contemporary suburbia. Card tells about the mysterious dragon that lives in the wiring of an old house, palpable only to a young boy who in dreams shares its body and feels its true size and power. But what does it really want? Mercedes Lackey, prolific author of the Valdemar saga, writes of a slave boy who is chosen to care for a warrior's dragon. Vetch (and the reader) will learn much about dragon behavior . . . and this special dragon's secrets may be the key to his freedom. (Lackey was so taken by young Vetch that she expanded his adventures into a full-length novel with the same name as this novella-"Joust.") Tanith Lee is no stranger to dragons, which appeal quite often in her award-winning fantasies. The fable "Love in a Time of Dragons" is imbued with her signature atmosphere-Old World, moody, erotic-as a kitchen maid goes a-questing with a handsome champion to slay the local drakkor. But the tale takes a surprising twist. . . . Elizabeth Moon author of the popular Esmay Suiza and Heris Serrano series, takes a break from military science fiction to give us the tale of a young man forced by lies to flee his village . . . into an adventure of dwarfs and dragonspawn, of trust and wisdom, and, ultimately, "Judgment". Rounding off the collection is Michael Swanwick's "King Dragon", a strange amalgam of twentieth-century technology and faery magic, in which the award-winning author invokes a truly sinister and repellent creature-a being with the soul of a beast and the body of a machine- part metal, part devil... all merciless.
This is a collection of six novellas featuring elves by some of fantasy's current giants.
In a famous Nashville family, a deadly feud is as much a tradition as country music Hilary Quayle has never done public relations for a country-western client, but Amanda Boulder's songwriting is beautiful, her voice is pure, and her career is in bad need of a good publicist. But there's one thing standing in the way of a great solo career: the rest of the Boulder family. The Boulders have been touring for eight decades, ever since old Pappy Boulder first picked up a fiddle. Hilary sends her assistant, Gene, to join up with the traveling Boulder Clan bluegrass musicians as they make their way to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry. But before Amanda's budding solo career can put an end to the family business, someone decides to put an end to her. She's onstage at the Opry when the poison hits. And when Hilary Quayle gets to Nashville, she'll learn that Southern hospitality and murder can go hand-in-hand.
The worst comic in New York is dead, and Hilary wants to know who gave him the hookThe Sons of the Desert are serious about comedy, fond of cocktails, and utterly devoted to the films of Laurel and Hardy. Their meetings are always merry, boozy romps, but the laughter dies whenever Wayne Poe takes the stage. A comic with bad timing, bad material, and a mean streak, he's known for stealing jokes and getting nasty when they bomb--which is just about every time he steps into the spotlight. Wayne has been murdering comedy for years, and now someone has decided to return the favor. Press agent and occasional sleuth Hilary Quayle is at her first meeting of the Sons of the Desert, accompanied by her assistant, Gene, when Wayne unexpectedly takes his final bow. And while Hilary may not know much about Laurel and Hardy, only she has the wit to unmask the club member who's looking to get the last laugh.
New York's toughest PR woman takes on the city's deadliest business: toysHilary Quayle will do anything to get a client a bit of good press--no matter how late she has to stay out or how many martinis she has to knock back. But even though she is the best PR woman in Manhattan, she has a weakness: She has always wanted to be a detective. So when Trim-Tram Toys' hot new product is stolen and sold to a knock-off huckster named Sid Goetz, Hilary can't resist the case. And it only gets more interesting when the theft leads to murder. Hilary and her assistant, Gene, push their way through the crowd at the bustling Toy Fair, but when they reach Goetz's showroom they find it strangely subdued. Sid lies dead, shot in his sizeable stomach, three Scrabble tiles clutched in his fist. Chasing killers may not be a game, but that doesn't mean that Hilary won't have a good time playing.
While on vacation in DC, Marty must outwit kidnappers at a magicians' conventionMarty Gold deserves a vacation. For years he has toiled behind the pharmacy counter at Spector's, a Manhattan institution whose classic soda fountain makes it a magnet for every overstuffed rear end on the West Side. Among his most devoted customers is Mase O'Dwyer, a chunky young magician who treats Marty as a captive audience for hour upon hour of poorly executed magic tricks. When Marty finally saves up enough money for a jaunt down to Washington, DC, Mase insists on tagging along to attend a magic convention. But as soon as he arrives, the hapless magician finally manages to make one trick work: He disappears. Mase has been kidnapped, and as much as he dislikes the kid, Marty feels obligated to rescue him. It will take magic to save the portly illusionist, but the druggist has a few of his own tricks up his sleeves.
When an allergic reaction results in death, a pharmacist takes the heatMarty Gold has enough problems. Cockroaches, for one thing, and two parents who give him endless grief for moving away from home, for another. But at Spector's Drugs in Manhattan, he is a king. The prescriptions he fills save lives, and the milkshakes he prepares make those lives worth living. So as December approaches, Marty's biggest concern is surviving Thanksgiving dinner. He has no idea he's about to be accused of murder. Of all the elderly women who frequent the pharmacy, Bernice Fenimore is the kindest. Marty has been refilling her Darvon prescription for so long that it's almost automatic. So when she drops dead of an allergic reaction, and the wrong pills turn up in the prescription bottle, the druggist is the chief suspect. To clear his name, Marty will have to scour the West Side in search of the real killer, and he'll find that investigating a murder is even trickier than making the perfect milkshake.
When a television writer takes a tumble, Hilary finds herself amidst the dramaPR whiz Hilary Quayle not only fired her assistant, Gene, she also broke up with him on the same day. And since the implosion of their office romance, Gene has been stuck in Philadelphia, consoling himself with Riverday, a soap opera most notable for its star's uncanny resemblance to his former boss. But one gray Pennsylvania day, he goes to the local shopping center, where his daytime idol is signing autographs. There he learns the star is Hilary's cousin, and she has hired his beloved as her press agent. He is just beginning to woo his way back into his old job when murder intervenes. In a plot twist suitable for the world of soaps, Riverday'shead writer takes a stark-naked swan dive off the roof of the TV studio. To protect her cousin, Hilary investigates the killing with Gene, as always, at her side. Determined to Hilary her back, Gene will stop at nothing--so long as he doesn't find himself written out of the series.
[From the front flap:] "The plot of the popular daytime soap opera "Riverday" was melodramatic to be sure, but, as detective Hilary Quayle and her sometime lover Gene discover, it's not nearly as tangled-or as deadly-as the drama its stars were acting out in real life. First, the unclad body of the show's head writer is found on the street in front of the television studio. Then the director yells "Action!"-and the leading villainess is poisoned, appropriately enough, in the middle of a deathbed scene. And when the show's producer is discovered lying in a pool of blood with his head bashed in, the cast and crew are suddenly fearing for something besides the show's ratings. Namely their own lives. Before the cameras can roll again, Hilary and Gene must separate fact from fiction-and egos from alter egos -to learn who on "Riverday" is hiding behind a mask of tragedy... and murder." The author puts his highly developed vocabulary to good use in this who-done-it whose outcome is hard to predict.
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