A Jeri Howard Mystery by Janet Dawson
Review: After an absence of over 10 years, Oakland private investigator Jeri Howard has a new case, one in which she has a personal interest, in Bit Player, the tenth mystery in this series by Janet Dawson.
Jeri's grandmother, Jerusha Layne — she was named after her — moved to Hollywood when she was a teenager with dreams of being a star. Instead, like many who shared that dream, she only made it as far as being a bit player in a number of movies filmed from 1937 to 1942, many starring Norma Shearer. Jeri collects memorabilia from these films, especially those that list her grandmother in the credits. While browsing in a new shop, she tells the owner about Jerusha and is surprised when he recognizes the name … but not exactly in the context she was expecting. Rumor had it that Jerusha and Ralpha Tarrant, a British actor, were having an affair in 1942 when he was murdered in his home. The crime was never solved. Jeri can't believe what she's hearing, and sets off for Los Angeles to go through the police archives to determine how much, if any, of the shop owner's story is true. Meanwhile, two more murders occur, both collectors, and both who had recently sold their collections to the memorabilia store.
Film buffs who may have grown up during the Golden Age of Hollywood — or are simply fond of the movies produced during this period — will take delight in reading about some of the screen legends mentioned in Bit Player. The narrative from the 1940s offers a striking backdrop to the mystery, and Jeri has a keen eye in seeing the connection between an unsolved murder some 60-odd years ago and those in the present. This fine mystery will have readers wondering why it's been so long between books in this series, but pleased nonetheless to see it being resumed.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Bit Player.
Acknowledgment: Perseverance Press provided an ARC of Bit Player for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
What You Wish For
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback), September 2012
ISBN-13: 9781564745187; ISBN-10: 156474518X
Location(s) referenced in Bit Player: Oakland, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
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Bit Player by Janet Dawson — A Jeri Howard Mystery
Publisher: Perseverance Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 2011
List Price: $14.95