‘Disappearing Act’ set in Venice Beach

Sometimes, as in the case of “Disappearing Act,” the setting comes before the story. Author Sid Fleischman wrote in an e-mail: “I have had my writer’s eye on Venice for decades. Not Venice, Italy. The Venice standing like an aging stage set along the Southern California coast. … The boardwalk is a daily vaudeville show of jugglers, fire-eaters, Muscle Beach weightlifters, folk singers, opera singers and fortunetellers. It’s irresistible story material. …

“The town was dreamed up a hundred years ago by a bearded visionary struck by the European original. … Abbot Kinney had (the canals) dug himself. He even imported gondolas and gondoliers.”

Of course, Venice Beach isn’t the only attraction near Los Angeles. There are neighborhoods including Hollywood and Beverly Hills, plus Disneyland, Universal Studios, La Brea Tar Pit museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, plus a lot more beaches.

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