Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“…I can’t go on reading papers and watching newsreels hoping everything will work out. I have to do something… I mean, the Nazis already invaded my apartment.”

Lillian, now a social secretary, isn’t content with only rubbing shoulders with 1938 Hollywood glamour while the cloud of the Reich descends in Europe and reaches across the ocean. When a composer seeking work at Paramount Pictures is found dead, Lillian partners with her friend Edith, Paramount’s lead costume designer, to unravel the latest mystery on their hands in Dangerous to Know by authors Renee Patrick.

I enjoyed the first Lillian Frost & Edith Head novel, and this second novel’s ties to the imminent Second World War most compelled me to read it.

I’ll admit, though, I fluctuated between moments of being engrossed in this one and stretches where the story all but lost my interest.

Where the romance thread is concerned, although I like Lillian’s dry wit overall, she might be a little too dry as a romantic character. And, even with the beginnings of attraction in the first book, one of her love interests isn’t compelling enough to make me see why he’s still in the running for her. He just doesn’t seem like someone who’s ready to pursue a woman.

I’m glad I made it to the mystery’s climactic stage, which is the best part. While I didn’t enjoy this read as much as the first, I’ll still keep my eyes open for more from this joint author, particularly to see if another Lillian and Edith novel will go deeper into the war.

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Note to my blog readers: this book contains tidbits of sensual gossip I could’ve done without and a moderate amount of language I wouldn’t use.

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Here’s my review of the first Lillian Frost & Edith Head novel, Design for Dying.

 

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The 1937 silver screen is sparkling, and though Lillian Frost hasn’t made it as an actress, she’s okay with working in a Los Angeles department store. But then her salesgirl job ties her to the case of a murdered Hollywood hopeful in Design for Dying by authors Renee Patrick.

Yes. I said “authors,” there. I was delighted to see that Renee Patrick is the pseudonym of a husband-and-wife author duo. How fun is that?

And this historical mystery novel is rather fun too, but not silly fun. Lillian has a mild, dry humor to her, and though she hasn’t yet found her ideal place in life, she’s got a good head on her shoulders. There’s a crisp smartness to the story’s style, and it’s entertaining without trivializing the murder or the seamy side of Hollywood glamour.

I’ll admit it’s borderline material for my quasi-conservative tastes, partly due to the moderate amount of language I wouldn’t use. But the novel does hold to a level of tact, and it helps that Lillian isn’t a starry-eyed chickadee zooming recklessly down Sunset Boulevard’s fast lane.

While this is a Lillian Frost & Edith Head novel, it’s told from Lillian’s perspective. So I would’ve liked if she ultimately played a stronger role in the solving of the case, instead of more or less being along for the ride when the rubber finally meets the road.

Still, the story’s nod to Lillian’s mother’s legacy is touching. And in all, as the novel has left me in the mood to once again watch the 1937 version of A Star is Born, I think it’s done its job.

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Design for Dying is the first Lillian Frost & Edith Head novel. Here’s my review of the second novel, Dangerous to Know.