Design for Dying
A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Mystery by Renee Patrick
Review: Lillian Frost hoped to make it big in Hollywood, but she realized quickly she simply didn't have the drive needed to succeed. Instead, she's working at Tremayne's, an upscale department store, where she has a keen eye for fashion. When Ruby Carroll, a former roommate, is found dead in an alley, dressed to the nines, the police call on Lillian to identify the body. She recognizes the dress Ruby was wearing as similar to one recently worn by an actress in a movie, certainly not off the rack, and sets out to learn how she came to own it, in Design for Dying, the first mystery in this series by Renee Patrick.
The dress was designed by Edith Head of Paramount Studios, so the police, with Lillian in tow, head over to the studio to ask her whether or not the gown Ruby was wearing was a copy or, hard as it might be to believe, the original gown. But Edith confirms it is the original, and it was apparently "borrowed" from the studio's wardrobe without authorization. The police continue with their murder investigation, while separately Edith and Lillian, who form an instant bond with each other over fashion in the movies, go about determining how Ruby came to be in possession of the dress.
The murder mystery in Design for Dying has a few clever twists, but in the end, isn't all that interesting. Rather, it is the series characters, Lillian Frost and Edith Head, who really shine here. Too, the narrative, dialog, and setting are all pitch perfect, taking the reader back to late 1930s Hollywood and making them feel part of the story. It's remarkably well done. Now that the characters are established, it will be interesting to see what's next for them. Hopefully a better mystery for them to solve, but given how strongly written they are, it might not matter that much; it's fun just to follow along.
Acknowledgment: Forge Books provided a copy of Design for Dying for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Design for Dying: Los Angeles, California
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Design for Dying by Renee Patrick — A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Mystery
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: April 2016
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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