Taken from the Soho slums by the first of several husbands, a booking agent who shaped her early career before being killed in the war, VERONICA MARLOWE found fame on the English stage but fortune in Hollywood in the 1920s. Her long blonde hair and striking looks kept her in great demand for more than a decade, on-screen and off, and she was one of several women rumored to be the famous "woman in black" at Valentino's grave. Lacking a major role for the past two years, she guaranteed herself the part of Jane in a new Tarzan movie by marrying the proposed male lead, Olympian Buck Battle.
A big, strapping fellow with blond hair and all-American good looks, FRANCIS "BUCK" BATTLE was just another farm boy from Des Moines until he learned to swim. State and, later, national honors led to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He met Veronica during the stop-over in London and, following a whirlwind courtship that belied the twenty-year difference in their ages, married her and signed to star in Tarzan's Jungle Lust on the same day - less than 24 hours after winning the last of his three medals, a gold in the 300-meter freestyle.
MARGARET VANDERGILT is the famous author of the syndicated gossip column, "Mark My Words:' which has ruined the usual number of careers and made her the standard number of enemies. Once divorced and twice widowed, she is wealthy and still attractive at 44. She has brown hair, wears glasses, and smokes. She is the mother of Felicity Sucrose and the patron of artist Vincent Van Wente.
Claiming variously to be a student of Escher and the last of the Italian futurists, VINCENT VAN WENTE had been involved in the French modern art scene for some time without a shadow of success until he met Margaret while she was vacationing in Paris. Impressed by a talent others had failed to recognize - or his boyish, even effeminate looks and curly brown locks - Margaret became his patron. Vincent smokes the same brand of cigarettes as she and, like her, affects a cigarette holder.
Felicity Sucrose, a sweet young thing of 18 and to all appearances a model daughter, is Margaret Vandergilt's daughter by her first husband. A pretty, pleasant blonde educated at boarding schools in Brighton and Switzerland, Felicity is usually surrounded by suitors, but none has found the key to her heart.
While Rod London was still an infant, his parents, who were British diplomats, were killed in Manchuria in the Boxer Rebellion. Although he eventually inherited the family estate in Northumbria, he found he preferred a life of action. As a soldier of fortune he fought in the Spanish Civil War with Franco and in Abyssinia and Ethiopia against Mussolini. A dark, black-haired, ruggedly handsome fellow of 36, Rod smokes English cigarettes.
Former fan dancer and burlesque queen SALLY ROSE met and married financier Oswald Stonemann on the same night. During her electrifying career, she was arrested twice for lewd and lascivious conduct and was rumored to have made at least one art film. Among her reputed lovers was the notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. Her blonde hair and supple body continue to attract men like a magnet. She, too, is a smoker.
OSWALD SDNEMANN was a poor young immigrant who found his youthful education on the streets of Chicago. He worked at various odd jobs until the age of 25, when he started his own business. He prospered during Prohibition, and his commercial empire now includes distilleries, steel mills, race horses, and a munitions factory. He is 45, bald, and slightly overweight; he wears glasses for reading and smokes the usual foul-smelling Havana cigars.
Little is known of NAIAUA BEJHMSW's background before becoming Jeremiah Folmuth's ward. According to Rev Folmuth, her parents, who were killed in the Great War, were Czech, but there was a persistent rumor that she was spirited away from Czarist Russia at the time of the revolution. Her life seems devoted to ballet, and it is not known how much of Jeremiah's fire-and-brimstone she has absorbed. A slender, black-haired lass of about 19, is well on the road to becoming a prima ballerina.
REVEREND J EREMIAH RDLMUH began his career fighting voodoo in the bayous. Later he gave healing sermons on the radio, fought for Prohibition, and campaigned unsuccessfully to ban both movies and Rudy Vallee's music because they were "Satanic" and "exciting:' The 42-year-old, red-headed evangelist's declared earnings in 1935 were more than $100,000 and were rumored to exceed that figure substantially.
STEPHIE HART-WINSTON is the daughter of the famous English inventor Felix Q. Winston and Desiree Hart, the fiery emancipationist. Independently wealthy even before
her parents died, Stephie inherited her mother's fierce independence along with her red hair. Educated in all the best schools, Stephie studied mysticism in Tibet, climbed in the Andes, and travelled throughout the Far East. A crack shot with rifle or pistol, she was the youngest woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. At 27, she has been the despair of more than one suitor.
Originally a stage magician and ventriloquist (when he was known as 'the great Sandini"), Aldo Sandin was profoundly affected by an encounter with the notorious Aleister Crowley in 1928. Later that year, with the help of Frank Robinson, he regressed through some of his past lives, including the famous magician Merlin. Now 40 and sought after as much for his Valentino looks as his psychic success, he is a medium through whom various wealthy widows contact the spirits of their late husbands for financial advice. His hair is as black as ever, and he is a chain smoker.
While still in her early twenties, French fashion designer MARIE ROGET met Anton Peste on a trip through central Europe. A lengthy courtship followed, but they were not married until the success of her first line, the Borgo Collection, assured her place in the world of fashion. An attractive woman of 36, with styled brown hair and glasses, Marie is sensitive and generally mild but can be ruthless with competitors.
A Hungarian aristocrat, ANTON PESTE appears to be about 50 but remains strikingly handsome. Tall, slim, black-haired but fair-complected, he wears severe, somewhat old-fashioned dark suits and speaks English fluently but with a slight accent. Always polite and quiet, even a bit reclusive, he seems devoted to his wife.
HESTER PRYMME, a librarian from Akron, claims to have won the trip as part of a contest no one else aboard seems to have heard of. She wears glasses, her brown hair in a bun, and unflattering dresses, but in rare moments of animation her face hints at a certain allure. Witty but shy she at times appears distracted and often keeps to herself.
PHILLIP WOLLCRAFT attended a small, quiet school 50 miles north of Boston, where he specialized in the history and theology of primitive cultures, and currently resides on the shores of Lake Como, Wisconsin. Recently he has been investigating standing stones and Druidic circles in England and more obscure finds on the continent. An altogether unremarkable-looking fellow with glasses and brown hair, Phillip has been overheard in the middle of the night crying out in an unfamilar foreign tongue.