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Guy Bolton Books In Order

Publication Order of Detective Craine Books

The Pictures (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Flowers for the Living (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Bring on the Girls (1954) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Guy Reginald Bolton was a British American playwright and writer of musical comedies. He was born in Broxbourne, England to Reginald Pelham an American engineer and Kate Behenna. His family moved to New York in the United States where Bolton trained as an architect at the Atelier Maqueray and the Pratt Institute School of Architecture. He would also study at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts. As an architect, he was successful early on in his career as he designed the rebuild of the Upper West Side Manhattan Ansonia Hotel. He was contracted by the US government to rebuild and redesign the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Military Academy at West Point. Even as he trained as an architect, he soon turned to a career in writing. He collaborated with several English writers the most prominent of which were George Middleton, George Grossmith Jr., and P.G. Wodehouse.

Guy Bolton was known as a ladies man that was involved with several singers and chorus girls during his life. He got married to his first wife Julia Currey in 1908 with whom he had Katherine Louisa Bolton and Richard Bolton. He got married to Marguerite Namara in 1917 with whom he had Marguerite Pamela Bolton. In 1926, he married the chorus girl Marion Redford with whom he had son Guy “Guybo” Bolton Jr. His marriage to Virginia de Lanty did not produce any children, even though it was the longest relationship he ever had ending with his death in 1979. Even though he was born of American parents, Bolton remained British until he became an American citizen in 1956. Just like his father, he never felt any deep attachment to any country, preferring to travel and live all over Europe. Nonetheless, he had his main residence on Long Island in New York, where he lived with his fourth wife after World War II. While he was in New York, he would take daily walks with his best friend Wodehouse who had bought a house two miles away. Bolton died in London aged 94 in 1979.

Even as a student Bolton found some early success with some of his stories published in magazines. “The Drone”, his first stage play that he co-wrote with Douglas J. Wood was written while he was aged 26. Bolton quickly made a name for himself as a playwright that moved the musical from the European opera traditions that used crown princes and princesses as lead actors. Nonetheless, he still collaborated with some of Europe’s best opera practitioners such as Emmerich Kalman, P.G. Wodehouse, and Herbert Reynolds on successful productions such as “Very Good Eddie”. For the most part, Bolton was involved in the writing while his partners managed the lyrics. Working together, Bolton and his friends Wodehouse and Kern would sell out their shows at the Princess Theater months in advance for plays such as “Lady! Lady!” and “Oh Boy!” Bolton would go on to co-write more than fifty plays with his friends Fed Thompson from England and George Middleton the American. Some of his more successful plays such as “This’ll Make You Whistle”, and “Adam and Eva” were made into movies. One of his best works was the 1935 published “Cole Porter’s Anything Goes” that he co-wrote with Wodehouse. He would later write the autobiographical work subtitled “The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy” and a collection of four highly popular novels between 1958 and 1966.

Working with other authors such as composer Jerome Kern and writers P. G. Wodehouse and George Middleton, Guy Bolton’s books with their witty and smart integration of lyrics are deemed watershed works in the American musical tradition. A leading librettist, his novel s were mostly a satire of the political and social life of the United States.

“Bring on the Girls: The Improbable Story of Our Life in Musical Comedy With Pictures to Prove It” is a semi-autobiographical collaboration between Guy Bolton and Wodehouse. Different from most of the other works that they have worked on, the novel is a collection of their observations and anecdotes from their years working together on musical comedy and stage plays. It is quite witty and humorous and you will likely find yourself laughing out loud reading it. Wodehouse and Bolton faithfully capture in detail how crazy the 1930s were. The characters that would otherwise seem like pure invention in another setting seem to leap out from the pages in a manner that no other work from this period does. From the stage producer that tricks young acting hopefuls into his yacht to take advantage of them, to a dog set loose on stage to almost ruin a play, nothing is too small or too big to be included in the autobiography. Even as Wodehouse and Bolton have often been accused of ignoring the issues of the times instead preferring to write about some type of fantasy, the novel proves all the accusations wrong. Coming from a time of terrible and bleak conflicts, the people needed some form of escape and there was nothing better than Hollywood and the golden age of theater to provide that escape.

“The Pictures” is an excellent novel set in 1939 Hollywood. The lead character in the novel is Detective Craine, a studio fixer that spent most of his time cleaning up after the studio stars and players who were involved in a range of crimes and misdemeanors. Now that his wife is dead, he is trying to leave that life behind and take better care of his young son. But MGM needs him for one last assignment. One of their biggest producers has just committed suicide and no one could handle the press coverage of the scandal better than Craine. What should have been an open and shut case soon turns into a complex case that is connected to a gory murder in an affluent suburb of Hollywood. With so many new complications, Craine needs to make a decision on whether he should go ahead in trying to unearth the messy truth by going against the ideals of secrecy he has upheld all these years, or follow orders one last time. He knows that whatever decision he makes will result in someone losing big; he just has to decide if that person would be MGM or him.

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