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Death Was in the Picture: A Mystery
In 1931, while most of Los Angeles is struggling to survive the Great Depression, the business of Hollywood is booming. And everyone wants a piece. The movies have always been cutthroat and, as girl Friday Kitty Pangborn is about to find out, that's more than a metaphor.
Kitty's boss, private detective Dexter Theroux, has been asked to help leading man Laird Wyndham prove his innocence. The actor was the last person to be seen with a young actress who died under very suspicious circumstances, and the star has fallen from the big screen to the big house. Wyndham's a dreamboat, but that isn't the only thing that has Kitty hot under the collar. Dex has already signed a client -- one who's hired him to prove Wyndham's hands are not as clean as they look.
Mixing Hollywood glitz with hard-boiled grit, Death Was in the Picture captures the essence of life in Depression-era Los Angeles: a world where times are tough, talk is cheap, and murder is often just one scene away.
“Linda L. Richards’ witty, well-plotted novels about secretary Kitty Pangborn couldn’t be more timely …. In the second novel of this series, Richards skillfully mixes the tenets of a traditional mystery with a hard-boiled novel for a snappy tale drenched in the atmosphere of 1930s Los Angeles.” South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“A heroine for hard times! Kitty rides again...” Tara Hanks
“Richards ... has done her homework on Hollywood’s past, and it shows. There’s plenty of local colour, snappy patter and some clever characters. Kitty Pangborn is spot-on as a kind of downtown Rosalind Russell...” -- The Globe & Mail
“Author Linda Richards made the winner's circle with her first novel, Death was the Other Woman. Death Was In The Picture is destined to do the same and draw rave reviews for Richards' command of atmosphere, along with two of the most entertaining characters to come along, P.I. Dexter Theroux and his assistant-in-all-matters-requiring-assistance (and then some), Kitty Pangborn.” Hamilton Spectator
“The Pangborn mysteries are a double treat for murder mystery fans in that Richards not only captures the spirit and language of the genre, but has put a refreshing twist on it with Kitty’s point of view as she learns the basics of the business and comes into contact with the seedier side of life.” -- Surrey Now
“Richards must have a time machine because her rendition of the 1930s Hollywood feel flawless. Her instincts are also perfect when it comes to pacing, she keeps the story moving without making it feel rushed. I really like this series and I really like Kitty and I promise you will too.” Crimespree Magazine
“Richards’s swell follow-up to Death Was the Other Woman … handles the slang and patois of the period neatly. Likewise, she paints a vivid picture of the contrast between those just scraping by during the Depression and those living high on the hog. Kitty has plenty of moxie, and while Dex gets top billing on the office door, she’s no second banana in this class act.” -- Publishers Weekly
“Richards effortlessly captures both the feel and lingo of a pulp classic. The banter between Kitty and Dex is ripe with an intimacy and familiarity that is deeply layered and honest. Kitty wants Dex to see her as a woman, not a girl, yet despite her own physical attraction to her employer, she doesn’t seriously want his attentions. Instead of a pistol-slinging femme fatale, Richards gives the reader a bright and capable woman, a heroine who -- refreshingly -- operates within the societal constraints of her time rather than anachronistically flouting them.” Quill & Quire starred review
“Nice period detail … and a satisfyingly twisty ending.” The Seattle Times
“Set in early-‘30s Hollywood and featuring a Marlowe-style private eye as a supporting player to the real star -- and the real detective -- his hard-boiled, wisecracking secretary, one Kitty Pangborn. The private eye is reasonably honest, as a private eye must be for this kind of book to be enjoyable, but a serious alcoholic -- so would Marlowe and the rest of them have been, if you think about how they talk about booze. But Kitty is something else again …. Kitty is a treasure, Linda Richards’s command of this tasty milieu is effortless … and this series is a pleasure to recommend.” -- The Ellenville Shawangunk Journal
“Luckily for Richards -- if not you -- the cooling global economy has put Depression-era stories on the front burner.” -- The Vancouver Sun
“Kitty takes center stage as she and Dex try and figure out the case and see if Laird did it or not. The story focuses on Kitty, as she makes better progress than her boss. Richards does a great job showing that Kitty seems to be the real brains of the operation, while her boss investigates in his own way: mainly drinking the studio’s Scotch and smoking their Cuban cigars …. don’t feel as though Dex does not earn his keep. He is a detective and gets his lumps when he does upset the apple cart. It seems Richards is having a great time turning the genre and the time frame on its ear…” Bookgasm
“Via Kitty, Richards skillfully evokes Depression-era life, emphasizing the travails of the masses, in grim contrast to the garish excesses of Hollywood and its promise of momentary escape through empty entertainment. Richards has clearly mastered the art of writing the historical, and her rendition of the Depression is unnervingly timely.” -- Mystery Scene magazine
“…a superb period piece.” Genre-Go-Round Reviews
“A good, old-fashioned gumshoe novel set in the early 1930s, Death Was In The Picture has it all: secrets, foul play, out-of-control passions, quirky characters, and - of course - several murders thrown into the mix. The bottom line is this: Stylish and great fun, just like Richards' earlier offering, Death Was In The Picture is first-rate entertainment, so don't miss it.” -- Book Loons Reviews
“Linda L. Richards' second Kitty Pangborn crime novel, Death Was in the Picture, is a vivid portrayal of Depression-era Los Angeles, with the contrast between Hollywood, and the ordinary people. Kitty, an innocent, but tough, young woman, provides a fascinating view of the times.” Lesa’s Book Critiques
“Written in the hard-boiled detective style filled with strong Prohibition bourbon and cast-off girls, Richards updates the genre by using Katherine’s perspective to effectively humanize Dex and add extra depth to the case. Even though she would normally be a minor supporting player, Katherine’s role is indispensable both in the office as part of the window dressing needed to impress clients and as Dex’s confidante who keeps in him in line. Through the twists and turns of the case, Katherine is able to momentarily shed her impoverished reality to transform into a mysterious starlet who dances with movie stars and eat caviar while dressed in glamorous clothes that cost enough to feed a family for a year.” New Mystery Reader
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Linda L. Richards author of Death Was in the Picture, Death Was the Other Woman, Calculated Loss, The Next Ex and Mad Money
Copyright © 2011 Linda L. Richards