Eye of the Moon

Ivan Obolensky

Book Cover

GENRE

MYSTERY DRAMA SUSPENSE/THRILLER ROMANCE CRIME FAMILY

    Core Theme

    FAMILY

    TIME PERIOD

    1960s & '70s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, CLUE (1985)

    CHARACTER LIST

    • PERCY: 25-30. LEAD. BRAINY AND PARANOID.

    •JOHNNY DODGE: 25-30. PERCY'S BEST FRIEND FROM CHILDHOOD.

    •STANLEY: 50+. BUTLER FOR THE DODGES.

    •BRUNHILDE: 25-30. INVITED TO THE MANSION AS A SET UP FOR JOHNNY, ENTERS A RELATIONSHIP WITH PERCY.

    •MAW: 70+. MATRIARCH OF THE DODGE CLAN AND CONTROLLER OF THEIR FORTUNE.

    •ALICE: 20-35 (IN FLASHBACKS). THE DEAD AUNT OF PERCY AND JOHNNY.

    Logline

    The sins of the father are visited on a young man at an elegant house party where he has to discover if his benefactor really died of natural causes. Joining forces with his childhood friend, they dive headlong into the occult and expose the lies, betrayals and unexpected ties of the other guests.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    1977 Upstate New York (and others depicted in letters or conversation)

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Smith-Obolensky Media

    Year Published: 2018

    Starting Description

    Legendary socialite and Egyptologist, Alice, died under mysterious circumstances but her nephew Johnny and his childhood friend Percy were kept in the dark. 20 years later at an anniversary party at Alice’s former estate in Rhinebeck, NY, they discover her letters and journal.

    Ending Description

    Percy discovers he is the beneficiary to Alice’s estate and artifacts, but the estate has become insolvent and the party is a cover to auction off the treasures. Percy has to negotiate with the guests to keep his inheritance intact, while finding out the truth as to how and why his benefactor died.

    Group Specific

    Rhinebeck, the estate on which the novel is based on, belonged to the author's grandmother, Alice Astor. Themes: egyptology, finance, legal, magical realism, multigenerational intrigue, and aristocratic society and their support staff (upstairs/downstairs).

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1947780026

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity,Extreme Violence,Sexual Abuse,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Twist,Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message,Happy Ending,Other

    Plot - Premise

    Other

    Main Character Details

    Name: Percy

    Age: Early 30s

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Clumsy,Complex,Engaging,Empathetic,Faithful,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Insecure,Underdog,Naive,Modest,Romantic,Secretive,Sophisticated,Charming

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Johnny Dodge

    Age: early 30's

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Gracious,Heroic,Educated,Leader,Masculine,Narcisstic,Outspoken,Skillful,Funny,Visionary,Secretive,Unapologetic,Sophisticated,Faithful

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Alice

    Age: late 40's

    Gender: Female

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Badass,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Desperate,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Heartthrob,Heroic,Educated,Leader,Unapologetic,Sophisticated,Seductive,Secretive,Visionary

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lord Bromley

    Age: early 70's

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Confident,Crazy,Criminal,Decisive,Desperate,Engaging,Greedy,Heartthrob,Educated,Masculine,Villainous,Narcisstic,Sexy,Power Hungry,Blunt,Skillful,Secretive,Seductive,Sophisticated,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

    Development Pitch

    Percy is persuaded by his friend, Johnny, to attend a five-day house party and they are drawn into a complex and sophisticated web of mystery, Egyptian occultism, sumptuous elegance, and intrigue, where family members, guests, and even the servants have their own agendas, and nothing is what it seems.

    Brief

    A corporate espionage story with a murder mystery twist, this story is a gripping read that is surprisingly touching. The sins of the father are visited on a young man at an elegant house party where he has to discover if his benefactor really died of natural causes. Joining forces with his childhood friend, they dive headlong into the occult and expose the lies, betrayals and unexpected ties to the other guests.

    What We Liked

    - This story begins delightfully campy, with a mysterious gathering of family members at a "haunted" house where they grew up, secrets, mystery, hidden ties--but under the surface of all the drama is a beautiful exploration of what it means to be a family and how you show your loyalty. If done correctly, this could be a new cult classic.
    - The heartwarming nature of this story creeps up on you, and viewers will be delighted when they go to see a film that they think is a typical murder-mystery and the resolutions that the characters reach leave everyone satisfied.
    - This would be an amazing miniseries if released weekly, with viewers discovering more and more about the mystery each week. It would be interesting to show scenes over again from the perspective of other characters in the openings of each episode.
    - Key points: Murder-mystery noir genre; Genuinely surprising plot twist; Satisfying ending; Set in late 70s and hilariously campy at times; Strong themes.

    Synopsis

    Percy has always considered himself an honorary member of the Dodge family--he was raised alongside his best friend, Johnny Dodge, in their family's Rhinebeck estate while his own parents traveled Europe and rarely saw him. Percy was always especially close to Johnny’s Aunt Alice growing up, until her unexplained, untimely death when he and Johnny were children. Percy remained close friends with Johnny even after they both grew up, and the two even started a business together. Unfortunately, the business failed and cost them both enormous sums, and Percy was so embarrassed that he fled to California and cut off ties and communication with Johnny and the rest of the Dodge family for a time. A few years later, he’s reconnected with Johnny, and just in time--the pair have been invited to the anniversary celebration of Johnny’s parents, Anna and John Dodge Sr. The two arrive at the Rhinebeck estate a day earlier than the rest of the family and are confronted by Stanley, the family’s long-time butler. Stanley sits down with the two and makes them a deal: he will tell them the full story of their aunt Alice if they promise him that they will do him a favor at an unspecified time, no matter what he asks. Percy doesn’t trust Stanley, but he’s incredibly curious to learn more about Alice, so the two agree to the deal. Their Aunt Alice was found dead by Stanley in her bed, covered in regalia from an ancient Egyptian mystical ritual. Stanley tells the men about Alice’s first husband, Lord Bromley, who abused her by locking her in a trunk as he knew about her severe claustrophobia. Stanley tells them that during one of these incidents, Alice was spoken to by voices that told her that she would make it out of this. Alice began to search for the source of the voices through mysticism and soon found a tincture that she would take that would give her visions. Alice poisoned Bromley with the tincture and left him, but he soon found her and ruined her life again. This pattern continued up until her death.

    When the rest of the guests arrive at Rhinebeck the next day, Percy soon finds himself drawn to Bruni, another guest. The two kiss and have a strong connection, until one of the other guests remarks that Bruni is married. The Baron, Bruni’s father, seems to detest Percy for no apparent reason, but Elsa, Bruni’s mother, adores Percy and tells him that Bruni’s marriage is on the rocks. Percy soon learns that his father stole his mother away from the Baron in a duel which explains the animosity. He also soon learns that Maw threatened his father and told him that he and Percy’s mother had to stay out of the country, but it was his parents and not Johnny’s parents who paid for Percy’s upbringing. Percy and Johnny attempt a ritual like Alice had done, except Johnny slips Percy the tincture unexpectedly. Johnny asks Percy while he’s possessed what happened to Alice, and all Percy says is that the eye of the moon was closed. The next day, Maw confronts Percy and tells him that unless he leaves the entire family alone forever, Johnny won’t get a cent from Maw when she dies. Percy is heartbroken to learn from Maw that she never liked him and that she never has considered him one of the family. Stanley gives Percy a letter from Alice in which she reveals that Lord Bromley is Percy’s real father and that she had bequeathed the Rhinebeck estate upon him. Stanley says that he now wishes to invoke the favor and ask both Percy and Johnny to accept the deal from Maw and that Percy have no more contact with the Dodge family. Percy learns from another guest that Maw is also heartbroken over the death of her eldest daughter, Sarah, who had an affair with the same man that Maw did. Maw and Sarah got into a violent fight during which Maw accidentally killed her. Percy and Johnny, working together, figure out that it was Maw who destroyed their business. Stanley gives Percy a letter from Alice, confirming that she had bequeathed the Rhinebeck estate upon him. He also tells Percy that there is going to be a secret auction for Alice’s artifacts later that evening.
    At dinner that night, Percy announces that he knows his parentage and that the auction will not happen as the estate and all of its items actually belong to him. John Sr. is furious with Percy and tells him that he cannot afford the estate’s upkeep and must give it to him. He also tells Percy that he has never liked him or thought of him as a son, hurting Percy. A storm breaks through the windows, interrupting dinner. Percy and Johnny concoct a plan to get the four million dollars needed for the mansion. Johnny convinces Maw to make retribution for sabotaging the business. Percy and Bruni talk to her father and convince him to give them his blessing. Percy talks to John Sr and is the bigger man and apologizes for the harsh words at dinner, and says that he will keep the estate, but John Sr. and his wife will continue to live in the master bedroom, and he will live in Alice’s apartment. He tells him that he’s always thought of him as his father, and John Sr. embraces him and apologizes as well. The mystery is wrapped up and the men are able to get the money together to keep the estate. In the end, all of the problems were solved with honest communication but most of all by Percy coming from a place of love for the family.

    About The Author

    Ivan Obolensky is an author of many non-fiction social science articles. This is his first fiction novel. Rhinebeck, the estate on which the novel is based on, belonged to the author's grandmother, Alice Astor.