Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Silent Murders by Mary Miley

In the The Impersonator, Leah Randall aka Jessie Beckett, took on the biggest role of her life impersonating a dead cousin and working to solve the mystery of her disappearance. The novel was filled with bits of information about what it was like to be in Vaudeville and compared it to the lifestyle her cousin would have had as a young heiress.

Silent Murders by Mary Miley is book two in her Roaring Twenties mystery series. Leah has now officially taken on the name Jessie Beckett and is working in Hollywood as an assistant script girl on the set of a Douglas Fairbanks movie, "Don Q: Son of Zorro."

The differences between Vaudeville and Hollywood are brought up occasionally, but mostly the plot sticks to Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and as a minor character, Myrna Loy and of course the murders. This is the end of the era of the Silent Movies and Talkies are just around the bend.

Mary comes to Douglas Fairbanks attention while she's working on the set of his movie and he asks her to become his personal assistant while his usual one is in Texas comforting her dying father. So it is in this role that Mary first becomes friends with him and Mary Pickford. Jessie ends up investigating a murder at Douglas Fairbanks request and becomes good friends with a policeman named Carl in the process.
From Goodreads: Jessie’s thrilled when Bruno Heilmann, a movie studio bigwig, invites her to a party. She’s even more delighted to run into a face from her past at that party. But the following day, Jessie learns that sometime in the wee hours of the morning both her old friend and Bruno Heilmann were brutally murdered. She’s devastated, but with her skill as an actress, access to the wardrobes and resources of a film studio, and a face not yet famous enough to be recognized, Jessie is uniquely positioned to dig into the circumstances surrounding these deaths. But will doing so put her own life directly in the path of a murderer?
Jessie is indeed put in the path of a murderer and danger will touch her more than once as the number of murders mounts.

The Roaring 20s is a fun time to read about. And the film industry with some of the big names in Hollywood as characters just makes it more alluring. She works for Douglas Fairbanks who is married to Mary Pickford. Her best friend and roommate is Myrna Loy whose close acquaintance happens to be Gary Cooper.

David from The Impersonator also makes an appearance as Jessie tries to solve the mysteries before someone else gets hurt. It's not necessary to read book one to enjoy his appearance. Enough is explained to make it interesting.

While Silent Murders is second in a series, it can be read as a stand alone book. The mysteries were intriguing. Since it is told mostly from Jessie's point of view, we find out everything as she does and it allows the reader to guess along with her as to who is the murderer.

If you like novels set in the 1920s or in Silent Movie era Hollywood, then you will probably enjoy this mystery. I am already looking forward to a third novel in the series. I love the character of Jessie and that her complexities and ties to both Vaudeville and the movies help her to solve the mystery.

I give this novel 4 stars out of 5 for the quality of writing and for the quality of the mystery.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.