Death Was in the Picture
Linda L. Richards
Dunne, Jan 2009, $24.95
In 1931 Hollywood secretary Kitty Pangborn continues to work for dissolute private investigator Dex Theroux even though she stepped into all sorts of trouble (see DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN) while her employer spent time toasting the J brothers (Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Jose Cuervo). She is grateful that Dex is clean and sober when a paying client arrives. He says he represents interested nameless concerned citizens who want to hire him to conduct surveillance of movie star Laird Wyndham, as they think his morality is dubious at best.
Although he has doubts about the surveillance, he needs the money so accepts the case. However, his gut instincts prove right when the police arrest Laird charging him with murder. Desperate to clear his reputation, Wyndham hires Dex to find the real killer.
The latest Dex-Kitty Depression Era Hollywood investigative thriller is a superb period piece. Once again Kitty does yeoman work to keep Dex away from the J crowd. Dex is at his best in a one thing leads to another scenario with his gut constantly telling him to drop the case and turn to alcohol to numb the feelings of being a loser. Historical mystery fans will enjoy this fine 1930s whodunit as well as the previous Panghorn-Theroux case (see DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN).