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!

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