Although she’s only nineteen, recently successful Broadway showgirl Dixie Dugan can’t find work. Boyfriend Jimmy Doyle is trying to put together a play for her but is having no success. Dixie learns that Hollywood producer Fritz Buelow is in town filming scenes for his allegorical epic, Sinning Lovers. It’s her chance to get into the movies. Pretending to be a reporter, she soon meets Buelow as well as his current squeeze, Chiquita Tortilla, and nice but inane songwriter Mickey O’Keefe. Dixie cleverly gets a screen test without asking for it, passes easily and sets out for Hollywood.
This is the second of three satirical novels featuring Dixie Dugan. The prototypical gold digger, Dixie’s smart, cynical and always planning her next move. And she’s talented enough to have a serious chance for stardom. McEvoy spends most of the book showing how difficult that could be at a time when studios were coping with the coming of sound films. The author adopts an interesting narrative strategy. He presents the story mostly with Dixie’s letters and diary entries, other documents (primarily telegrams, publicity releases, and newspaper articles) and passages of dialogue arranged like those in a screenplay. In Chapter Six, however, he goes straight into Dixie’s mind and rolls out a stream of consciousness that lasts seventeen pages without any punctuation. McEvoy isn’t James Joyce, of course, and this book isn’t more than well observed light entertainment. Crammed with show-biz slang from eighty years ago, it’s still a fun read that fans of Hollywood fiction are likely to enjoy.