Design for Dying by the husband and wife duo, Rosemarie and Vince Keenan, known collectively as “Renee Patrick,” is the thrilling debut mystery in their “Lilian Frost and Edith Head” series of novels. It is set in the 1930s, during Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the authors manage to capture the glamour and romance of a bygone era while concocting a brilliant and engrossing read, full of twists and turns. Thanks to CDA News and the book’s publishing company, Tor/Forge, three lucky readers of this review will have the chance to win one hardback copy each of this terrific mystery to call their own! See full contest rules below.
In Design for Dying, Lilian Frost originally comes to Hollywood lured by the promise of fame, and acting on the Silver Screen like many of her idols. She rooms with other young women, who also have visions of becoming stars in their eyes, like her former roommate, Ruby Carroll, a party girl who is slain wearing an elaborate dress worn in a movie and designed by none other than the famed costume designer of Paramount Pictures, Edith Head. Before Carroll is identified by the police, the media takes to referring to her as the “Alley Angel,” because of her beautiful, angelic appearance and where her body was found.
Though Ruby Carroll and other women who boarded at a house where Frost once also roomed have continued on in their attempts to make a name for themselves as actresses, Lilian Frost has moved on, needing the salary that a more steady line of work can provide. She gets a job working as a department store salesgirl, her astute eye for Hollywood finery and apparel coming in handy in her job.
Though Frost has had a falling out with Carroll because her roommate had “borrowed” a piece of Victorian jewelry Frost’s mother had given to her, Carroll had many appealing qualities that made it difficult for Frost to stay mad at her for long. Their friendship results in a couple of detectives calling on Frost at her place of employment after Carroll’s body is found, wanting to know more about their friendship, and if Frost had played any part in stealing the dress from the department store she works at for her friend.
Frost begins to realize that the detectives suspect she played a role in Carroll’s death, though she tries to convince them that the dress Carroll was found in was not one sold at the department store where she is employed. Frost informs the detectives that the dress is unique, one that she believes she has seen an actress wear in a movie.
In Design for Dying, the intrepid Lilian Frost soon finds herself assisting the detectives in their investigation, driven by the need to clear her own name, to get back the jewelry that Carroll “borrowed” from her, and to get closer to the designing side of Hollywood, through a friendship she develops with Edith Head. A detective drives Frost to Paramount, where he is surprised to learn that Head confirms that the dress was one she had designed. Carroll “borrowed” it when she briefly worked at Paramount, like she had “borrowed” the cherished piece of jewelry that had belonged to her mother. Frost and Edith Head combine forces to help the police unravel who killed Carroll.
Design for Dying by Renee Patrick is a promising beginning to the Lilian Frost and Edith Head series of mysteries, taking readers back to the glamour and nostalgia of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The intriguing mystery is as carefully designed as one of Head’s Oscar-winning creations.
Contest Giveaway Rules – The Giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. CDA News will select three lucky winners, by random drawing, who will each receive a hardback copy of Renee Patrick’s Design for Dying. Entering for a chance to win is easy! Simply leave your first name and the state, province/Country in which you live, in the comments section below. The Giveaway will run from June 2, 2016 until midnight on June 16, 2016. CDA News will select and notify the lucky winners via email on June 17, 2016.
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By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Tor/Forge