Bob Hope in a Murder Mystery

600full-bob-hopeYep, I put Bob Hope in the third of my Roaring Twenties murder mysteries, one I call Renting Silence. (Don’t ask me when it’s going to be published–the first is scheduled for September and St. Martin’s/Minotaur likes to space them a year apart, so I’m guessing fall of 2015.) I like sprinkling in real people in minor roles, making certain I get the details correct. With Bob Hope, it was a little harder than usual because he wasn’t called Bob Hope until several years after my story takes place. 

In 1925, he was still Leslie Hope from Cleveland, Ohio, a Small-Time performer on the Gus Sun Circuit in the Midwest. He would soon change his name to Lester in an attempt to sound more masculine and tough, but, as he admits in his autobiography, he was still Les Hope, or Hope-less. So I was unable to use the name Bob Hope. How to let the reader know who this character is? I described his famous ski-slope nose, and then had him speculating about a tougher name. He asks Jessie, my main character, if Lester sounds better than Leslie. Then he says he’s thinking about something more American, like Joe, Bill, or Bob. (This comes out of his autobiography too.) So I have Jessie test the sound of each: “Joe Hope, Bill Hope, Bob Hope. I think I like Bill best.” I’m hoping that is enough to clue in the reader. What do you think? Is there any other way to make it obvious without sounding phony?

Here’s an early picture of Les Hope in the 1920s, at about the time he appears in my novel. 


Published in: on March 2, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I may be mixed up with Jack Benny but, I thought Bob Hope had a more foreign sounding real name…maybe Polish or something.

    • Jack Benny’s real name was Kubelsky. Bob Hope’s real name was Leslie Hope. He was born in England.

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