Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick

Lillian Frost & Edith Head, Book 2

Synopsis: Classic Hollywood. Silver Screen Style. Vintage Murder. A champagne cocktail of a mystery covered in movie magic stardust

December 1938. Lillian Frost has plunged head first into a world of boldfaced names and endless glamour as social secretary to movie-mad millionaire Addison Rice. Costume designer Edith Head is now in charge of Paramount Pictures’ wardrobe department, although her position is precarious: potential replacements are being auditioned on a regular basis. The two friends again become partners thanks to an international scandal: a real-life incident, a historical footnot long forgotten, in which the war clouds gathering over Europe cast a shadow on Hollywood.

At a swanky Manhattan dinner party the well-heeled guests speak ill of Adolf Hitler in front of a German maid with Nazi sympathies. The secrets she spills soon have all of New York society running for cover–and two of Paramount’s biggest stars, Jack Benny and George Burns, facing smuggling charges.

When an émigré composer seeking work at Paramount is found dead, Marlene Dietrich tells Edith she blames agents of the Reich. As Lillian and Edith unravel intrigue that extends from Paramount’s fabled Bronson Gate to FDR’s Oval Office, only one thing is certain: they’ll do it in style.

Review: I had a great time with the first volume. Lillian’s investigations are interesting and full of twists and turns. Besides, our heroine has to face a new problem. Indeed, Marlene Dietrich is looking for one of her old friends, a German emigrant, whom she wants to hire for his talents as a pianist. But it seems that he has disappeared.

In a background of World War II, or at least with the echoes of the Nazism in Hollywood, Lillian will set foot in a story that surpasses her. Between American spies and Nazi spies, our heroine will not know where to turn to. With the war approaching rapidly, no one knows what to think and the population is quietly deciding. Lillian’s adventures will lead her to meet many characters and when she discovers the body of the man she was looking for, she will realize that others wanted to find him. Monitored by all, our heroine will try to disentangle the true from the false with the help of her friends.

During this investigation, she will cross the road of a driver: Simon. He is an enigmatic man, hard to pin down and of whom it will be difficult to know on which side he is. I really enjoyed seeing his interactions with Lillian and I confess that I am curious to see what the sequel will bring us. Of course, there is Gene too, but it’s also difficult to decide on him. His relationship with Lillian is quite strange and complicated.

In any case, I had a great time once again with this story and I hope that we will have more because I am curious to discover a new investigation!




Dangerous to Know de Renee Patrick (VO)

Lillian Frost & Edith Head, Tome 2

Résumé (traduction personnelle) : Décembre 1938. Lillian Frost a plongé la tête la première dans un monde de noms audacieux et de glamour sans fin en tant que secrétaire du millionnaire Addison Rice. La créatrice de costumes Edith Head est maintenant responsable du département de garde-robe du Paramount Pictures, bien que sa position soit précaire: les remplacements potentiels sont auditionnés régulièrement. Les deux amies deviennent de nouveau partenaires grâce à un scandale international: un incident de la vie réelle, un obstacle historique oublié depuis longtemps, dans lequel les nuages de guerre qui se rassemblent sur l’Europe jettent une ombre sur Hollywood.

Lors d’un joli dîner à Manhattan, les invités bien apprêtés parlent d’Adolf Hitler en mal devant une femme de ménage allemande avec des sympathies nazies. Les secrets qu’elle répète bientôt mettent en émoi la société new-yorkaise – et deux des plus grandes stars du Paramount, Jack Benny et George Burns, font face à des accusations de contrebande.

Quand un compositeur émigré cherchant un travail au Paramount est trouvé mort, Marlene Dietrich dit à Edith qu’elle blâme les agents du Reich. Alors que Lillian et Edith démêlent des intrigues qui s’étendent de la fabuleuse porte Bronson de Paramount au bureau ovale de FDR, une seule chose est sûre: elles le feront avec style.

Avis : J’avais passé un très bon moment avec le premier tome. Les enquêtes de Lillian sont intéressantes et pleines de rebondissements. D’ailleurs, notre héroïne doit faire face à un nouveau problème. En effet, Marlene Dietrich est à la recherche d’un de ses anciens amis, un émigré allemand, qu’elle désire embaucher pour ses talents de pianiste. Mais voilà, il semblerait qu’il ait disparu.

Dans un fond de seconde guerre mondiale, ou en tout cas avec les échos de nazisme à Hollywood, Lillian va mettre les pieds dans une histoire qui la dépasse. Entre espions américains et espions nazis, notre héroïne ne saura pas vers qui se tourner. La guerre approchant à grands pas, personne ne sait que penser et la population se départage doucement. Les aventures de Lillian vont l’amener à rencontrer de nombreux personnages et quand elle découvre le corps de l’homme qu’elle cherchait, elle va se rendre compte que d’autres voulaient le retrouver. Surveillée par tous, notre héroïne va essayer de démêler le vrai du faux avec l’aide de ses amis.

Durant cette enquête, elle va croiser la route d’un chauffeur : Simon. C’est un homme énigmatique, difficile à cerner et dont on aura du mal à savoir de quel côté il est. J’ai beaucoup aimé voir ses interactions avec Lillian et j’avoue que je suis curieuse de voir ce que la suite leur apportera. Bien sûr, il y a Gene aussi, mais c’est aussi difficile de statuer à son sujet. Sa relation avec Lillian est assez étrange et compliquée.

Dans tous les cas, j’ai passé un très bon moment une fois de plus avec cette histoire et j’espère que nous en aurons plus car je suis curieuse de découvrir une nouvelle de ses enquêtes !



Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Lillian Frost & Edith Head, Book 1

Synopsis: This debut is the first in a series of riveting behind-the-scenes mysteries from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl . . . until she discovers she’s a suspect in the murder of her former roommate, Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she’s barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian’s name and save Edith’s career, the two women join forces.

Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who’s not on the level. All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just might be enough.

Review: I did not really know about the series but with the release of the second volume I had the chance to to discover this first novel. The idea of investigations along with Hollywood during this period was very attractive and I was curious to see what the author was going to present us.

We discover Lillian Frost a young woman who works today in a clothing store. Her rather routine life is going to be completely upset down when she learns that her ex roommate and friend is found murdered. Suspect of the murder, she will try everything to innocent her name and discover what happened to Ruby. This young woman who enjoyed by life without hesitation, abusing it, has changed somewhat since her departure. This is how Lillian will team up with Edith, a friend of hers who is trying to understand the events as well and they both will try to clear up the mystery. But while Lillian discovers Ruby’s secrets, she will put herself in danger and discovering the killer will become indispensable!

I loved the idea of the novel, it is a very interesting mix and it was a pleasure to discover Lillian. She is a very fresh and dynamic woman who, despite what Ruby has made her endure, hopes to understand the truth. The plot is not badly conducted with many secrets, arrangements, and we gradually discover the stories of each character. I confess that I had not seen the end coming, especially about the culprit. The author makes us doubt, suspecting the characters, the one after the other and it is true that this mobile was far from what I could have imagined.

As I said, this novel was a good discovery and I am curious now to find the characters for a new story!