Design for Dying

Who doesn’t love a story of a bygone era of Hollywood.  The 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s were considered the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The glitz and glamour of movie stars in those days seems more interesting than movie stars of today.  I’m fascinated by stories of actors and actresses of the past.  I went through a phase a couple of years ago and read so many biographies (both authorized and unauthorized) about many of the stars of yesteryear.  In fact, one of my most favorite books ever is a Gene Kelly biography.  I think I’ve read it 4 times already.  It’s just fascinating how stars at the time were discovered and how they traveled across the country in order to be in the pictures.

Where is this going you may ask?  Well, let me tell you.

At Malice Domestic this year I got introduced to many authors that I hadn’t read before.  One set of authors were a husband and wife team who created the Lillian Frost and Edith Head (the famous costume designer) mystery.  The first in hopefully a series:


Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

The story follows shop girl Lillian Frost, who quickly after arriving in Hollywood realizes she’s just not a good actress, into a mystery surrounding her former roommate.  The victim turns out to be a fellow aspiring actress with more skeletons in her closet than anyone ever realized.  Thrown together by a connection with the victim, Lillian meets and befriends Edith Head at the move studio.  From there, they decide to try and get to the bottom of the murder themselves after being stymied by security at the studio.  Of course there is a Detective that may become a future love interest (more books in the series will help clear that up!)

Before reading this book, I practically devoured “The Garden of Allah” books by Martin Turnbull.  The series of books (I believe there are currently 4), follow three friends through years at the hotel/living space Garden of Allah.  Movie stars, directors, famous writers all come and go, but the three friends stay together through all the trials and tribulations of hollywood.  Again, another series set in the 30’s-50’s that perfectly encapsulates what I think that time period must have felt like.

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