Script for Scandal 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.

Script for Scandal by Renee Patrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

It’s 1939 in Hollywood, and costume designer Edith Head lets her friend, Lillian Frost, know about a script for an upcoming film. The story is based on a real-life bank robbery, and to Lillian’s horror, the character based on her detective beau, Gene Morrow, is the crooked, murderous cop in all of it in Script for Scandal by authors Renee Patrick.

So! It was a little strange diving into this third Lillian Frost & Edith Head mystery, written with British punctuation and spelling and no page breaks between chapters, after reading the first two novels with American English and chapter breaks. But those technical differences weren’t as important as my interest in this continuing series and the story at hand.

Like its predecessors, this novel has its share of real figures from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the glamour of it all balanced with its seamier side, and Lillian’s first-person narration has dry, clever irony throughout, which sometimes smooths into dry comedy.

Now, it took me longer to get through this read than I’d anticipated. The unfolding of the plot was slow for me in places, my prior history with the main characters being what urged me to continue. Also, in connection with something I said in my review of Book Two (“…one of [Lillian’s] love interests isn’t compelling enough to make me see why he’s still in the running for her”), I think it’s now safe to say outright that I’m still not a fan of Gene as a beau for Lillian.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the twists as the mystery got down to the nitty-gritty, and I’m already ready for a Book Four of this series from the married duo of authors behind the pseudonym Renee Patrick.

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Note to my blog readers: this book contains some innuendo and also has 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.