Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Category Archives: Death in Nostalgia City

Nostalgia City trivia quiz: music, Vietnam, Happy Days


Newly released Dark Ride Deception, like the previous novels in my series is based in Nostalgia City, a sprawling theme park that recreates an entire small town from the 1970s.

This latest book travels to Florida where Lyle uses a variety of false identities to investigate other theme parks and try to recover high-tech secrets stolen from Nostalgia City.  To maintain the park’s theme—and authenticity—I use news items, songs, product names and other touchstones of the 1970s.

In that spirit, here’s the second installment of my 1970s trivia quiz. Answers, of course, can be found on the pages of Nostalgia City mysteries.  But you’ll also find them on the next post here in your mailbox or at

(No fair looking these up on the internet.)


  1. In 1975 which automotive company introduced the Pacer, “the first wide, small car.”

a. Ford
b. American Motors
c. Plymouth
d. General Motors

2.  Which 1970s product was advertised as featuring “rich Corinthian leather”?

a. Lazy Boy recliners
b. Members-Only jackets
c. Chrysler Cordoba
d. Bloomingdale’s bell bottoms

3.  When did the US’s Vietnam War officially end?

a. 1969
b. 1975
c.  1978
d.  1972

4.  The song Evil Ways hit #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 the week of Mar. 21, 1970. Name the artist.

a. Fleetwood Mac
b. Dire Straits
c. Frank Zappa
d. Santana

5.  Who played The Fonz on the Happy Days TV series 1974-1984?

a. Henry Winkler
b. Scott Baio
c. Donny Osmond
d. Bill Bixby

6.  What beer advertised, “tastes great, less filling.”

a. Bud lite
b. Coors
c. Miller Lite
d. Hamm’s

7.  What novelty gift became a craze in the late 1970s and sold in the millions.

a. Chia Pets
b. Beanie Babies
c. Hula Hoop
d. Pokemon Go

8.  David Cassidy starred in what 1970s sitcom?

a. The Brady Bunch
b. Family Ties
c. All in the Family
d. The Partridge Family

9.  If your car had an eight-track, it meant it had,

a.  A  V-8 engine
b. Four-wheel drive
c. A tape player
d. GPS

10.  Which event did not take place in the 1970s?

a. The 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Law was enacted.
b. Girls were first permitted to play Little League baseball.
c. A terrorist bomb destroyed a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland.
d. The Sting won the Oscar for best picture of the year.

11.  Midnight screenings of which motion picture helped make it a cult classic?

a. The French Connection
b. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
c. Zardoz
d. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

12.  Which baseball player surpassed Babe Ruth’s career home run record in 1974?

a. Mickey Mantle
b. Jackie Robinson
c. Hank Aaron
d. Reggie Jackson

Rock music: setting a tone for murder?


The Marijuana Murders

Nostalgia City, the theme park setting for the mysteries in this series, is a 1970s town complete with period cars, clothes, hairstyles, music, fashions, food, fads—the works.  One of the most important of those elements is music.  In The Marijuana Murders (as in the previous Nostalgia City books) I use the names of real songs (and artists) to establish the decades-past setting of the park and sometimes to contribute to the mood of individual scenes or chapters.

It helps if you remember some of the songs or at least recognize the names of the old singers and groups.  Recollection of the music can help you slip into the ambiance of a scene, and nowhere is music more important to a setting than in Chapter 3 when Kate walks into the park’s famous headshop.  Imagine the aroma of incense, the fluorescent glow of psychedelic posters, and the sound of Ravi Shankar’s sitar.

In this book, Lyle has chosen a few bars of Chuck Mangione for his cell phone ringer.  He uses an upbeat section of Mangione’s Grammy-nominated “Feels So Good” from 1977.  Lyle must have chosen the selection on a particularly bright day considering the grief he faces in the novel.

Two other notable songs from the book are “Treat her Like a Lady by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose and “Take It to the Limit” by the Eagles.  It’s the rhythm of the former song that sets a pace in a later chapter and the lyrics of the latter song that more accurately reflect Lyle’s general feelings.

The books ends with the light touch of Olivia Newton-John singing “Magic.” The song sat at #1 on Billboard’s pop chart for four weeks in 1980. Other groups and artists mentioned include The Village People, Barry White, The Monkees, The Who, Captain and Tennille, and The Animals. 

Finally, to get into the retro spirit of the book, try to remember these oldies, also mentioned:  “Along Comes Mary” – The Association, “Puff the Magic Dragon” – Peter, Paul and Mary, “Maggie Mae” – Rod Stewart.

“Death in Nostalgia City” is library assn. selection


Death in Nostalgia City was recommended this month for book clubs  by the American Library Association’s Book Club Central.

The book was selected for its fresh start theme.  In Death in Nostalgia City, one of my two protagonists is ex-cop Lyle Deming. His wife divorced him then he was dismissed from the police department, in part for his erratic behavior.  Anxiety is his default setting.  Desperate  for a stress-free job that has nothing to do with consoling murder victims’ families, Lyle becomes a cab driver—in a theme park.

Nostalgia City is no ordinary theme park.  Covering several square miles in central Arizona, the park is a re-creation of an entire small town from the mid-1970s. Peace and relaxation reigns–until someone starts sabotaging rides and killing tourists.
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