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Silent Murders: A Mystery (A Roaring…
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Silent Murders: A Mystery (A Roaring Twenties Mystery)

by Mary Miley

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Miley has created a wonderful character in Jessie and both books in this series so far are so much fun and a joy to read. The first book covered Jessie and her vaudeville days and I learned so much about the life of vaudeville performers. This one has Jessie in Hollywood training as a helper for Douglas Fairbanks, in the studio he and his wife, Mary Pickford own.

It fully immerses the reader in Jazz Age Hollywood, with its jealousies, competitions for parts and the age of silent film. The lush parties, the alcohol flowing freely despite prohibition and the large amounts of drugs available for those who want them. The studio scandals and the free reign the newspapers had where nothing had to be authenticated and gossip was the way to sell papers.

There are bit appearances by Grouch Marx and Gary Cooper and Jessie's best friend here will soon be known as Myrna Loy. The studios reactions to the advent of color and the fear they have of the "talkies" and how many jobs will be lost.

An old fashioned who-done-it and Jessie once again involved. David Carr, a character from the first book makes a re-appearance and he and a cop investigating the murders both want a relationship with Jessie.

A fun, fast flowing book with the old Hollywood flavor.

ARC from NetGalley. ( )
  Beamis12 | Oct 11, 2014 |
Jessie Beckett has left vaudeville, and a stint impersonating a lost heiress, behind and is building a new life and career in Hollywood. She is working as an assistant script girl on a Douglas Fairbanks movie. She and one her roommates, now named Myrna Loy, are invited to a party at the home of a famous director. There Jessie meets a woman who knew her mother and traveled the same vaudeville circuit Jessie and her mother traveled. The woman made an appointment for the next day to share memories of Jessie's mother and to give her some playbills with her mother's picture.

When Jessie arrives at Esther's apartment, she finds Esther dead from a blow to the head. Jessie has avoided the police all her life. Most vaudevillians do because, as strangers in town, it is easy to blame them for crimes. After packing up the playbills and sending them to herself, she does call the police which leads to her being interrogated. She meets a policeman named Delaney who seems smarter and more honest than the usual cop.

She gets a call from Douglas Fairbanks when she gets home. He tells her about a murder and asks for a favor. It seems that the famous director was murdered after the party and now Fairbanks wants Jessie to go to his home and retrieve articles left by Lottie Pickford, Mary's sister, who was having an affair with him.

Because the threat of one more scandal might bring down the fledgling movie industry, Fairbanks asks Jessie to investigate and try to preserve reputations. Jessie meets an old friend from the first book who is now financing movies and says he has left his bootlegging past behind and his presence complicates her investigation.

This mystery had it all. The 1920s Hollywood setting came to life with its different customs. It's Prohibition but that doesn't stop Hollywood elite from drinking and doing drugs. I liked the way the author worked in Hollywood celebrities - Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and rising stars Myrna Loy and Gary Cooper. I especially enjoyed Jessie's encounter with the Gainaday clothes washing machine and all her driving around in a Flivver.

I recommend this historical mystery for movie buffs and fans of intrepid heroines. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 8, 2014 |
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"[Vaudeville actress turned Hollywood insider] Jessie's thrilled when Bruno Heilmann, a movie studio bigwig, invites her to a party. Shes even more delighted to run into a face from her past at that party. But the following day, Jessie learns that sometime in the wee hours of the morning both her old friend and Bruno Heilmann were brutally murdered. She's devastated, but with her skill as an actress, access to the wardrobes and resources of a film studio, and a face not yet famous enough to be recognized, Jessie is uniquely positioned to dig into the circumstances surrounding these deaths"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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