Poisoned Pen, Mar 2009
Having prevented a Nazi plot in Detroit (see LIPSTICK AND LIES) Women Air Force Service Pilot Pucci Lewis is assigned by her superior officer Miss C to go undercover at Fort Roach, a converted movie studio serving as the home base of the First Motion Picture Unit (FMPU). The mission of the unit is to create training and propaganda films in support of the war. Her official assignment is to replace injured pilot Frankie Beall whose job was to insure the movie makers treat the WASP with respect; however her real secret task is to investigate the suspicious plane crash in which veteran pilot Frankie was hurt in her life threatening crash.
Pucci works for producer Roland Novaro and quickly realizes female pilots are treated as a joke worse than her boss expected. However what concerns Pucci more is the squabbling between the producer, the editor Rask and the abusive abrasive director Brody. She also learns from airplane mechanic Mad Maxine Beacock that the plane the WASP pilot flew was deliberately sabotaged, but a cover-up has occurred though neither woman knows why. Soon others are murdered including Brody as the cover-up turns deadly.
Paying homage to the WASP warriors, Margit Liesche writes an engaging WWII military mystery that provides a deep look at the female pilot corps and at Hollywood goes to war. The whodunit hooks the audience as Pucci’s assignment changes from investigating sabotage probably by Nazis to a homicide inquiry. She is a terrific lead as she holds the plot together. However, the deep makes the tale refreshing as they bring to life the roles of women and Hollywood in the 1940s at a military base in the States.