The Silver Birch Press blog often features posts about favorite author F. Scott Fitzgerald, so we were excited to dive into a whimsical new novel from John Stacy called The Ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald — a fun, fast read where Fitzgerald’s ghost revivifies in the West Hollywood apartment at 1443 N. Hayworth where he met his untimely end at age 44 on December 21, 1940.
Set in the present, Fitzgerald starts to get his wind back when an author named Halle begins to write the latest volume in her Audrey McLane mystery series on the author’s ancient Smith Corona typewriter, which has been in the building’s basement for over 70 years. Fitzgerald reveals himself to Halle by degrees — until he’s as hale and hearty as he was in his Princeton days, and soon finds himself at home in his corporeal form — eating tuna sandwiches, drinking gin, and smoking cigarettes — and picking up where he left off on his unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon.
John Stacy suspends the reader’s disbelief at this improbable scenario with a clever device — mystery author Halle envisions all of her characters in vivid detail, conversing and interacting with them at length. So when Fitzgerald reveals himself, she at first thinks he’s a character in her new book. Bit by bit, she learns that her new roommate is a ghost — and by that time she’s smitten with him and hooked on his writing tips.
The book is filled with allusions to incidents from Fitzgerald’s life and includes more than a few of the writer’s bon mots. John Stacy knows his subject — and has a lot of fun in this homage to an author he clearly venerates. As I read the book, it occurred me that the story would also work as a stage piece.
Find out what happens to Scott and Halle by picking up a copy of The Ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald by John Stacy at Amazon.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Stacy is an author and retired teacher of literature. He holds graduate degrees from California State University Long Beach, The University of Southern California, and The University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Barstow Bones: A Murder Mystery, and Unwired Girl, a young-adult fantasy.