I have always said that silent Hollywood is an absolute treasure trove for mystery writers. In addition to the actual murders (William Desmond Taylor), there were also quite a few accidents, shady deaths and disappearances. The Hollywood mystery has become a popular sub-genre and the latest entry is entitled Silent Murders.
Available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook.
While I am a dabbler in mystery, mostly classic hard-boiled, I am hardly an expert on the genre. So, I decided to call in a guest reviewer who is. Namely, my mom.
First, a few basics.
The Plot: Our heroine is named Jessie Carr (well, not really but this book is the second in a series so bear with me) and she is a silent movie actress. Naturally, murder is afoot and before you can say “Action!” we have a few dead bodies littering the place. What’s our heroine to do? If you give any answer other than “start her own investigation,” you may as well turn in your mystery fan card.
Availability: Silent Murders will be available in hardcover, e-book and audio editions on September 23, 2014.
Style: This is a lighthearted historical mystery. It definitely is more on the “cozy” side of the genre with minimal sex and violence (other than the murders, of course) and does include a fair amount of humor. (While this is the second in a series, Miley provides enough background to make it easy to follow the story even if you have not read the first one.)
History: The book did a very good job of capturing the feel of the times with the historical details woven into the plot seamlessly. In short, there is not a huge exposition dump, which can be a fatal flaw for historical novels. Instead, we get background and events in manageable and enjoyable bite-size pieces. While it incorporates the personal lives of silent personalities (such as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin) it is not gossipy or mean-spirited.
Mystery: The story tightly-paced and moves along nicely.
Concluding thoughts: This is a fast, fun mystery with plenty of humor and historical detail. It is an ideal way to spend a snowy winter day or an afternoon on the beach. Mary Miley is a skillful writer and puts together an excellent mystery. This one gets a high recommendation and 4 out of 5 stars.
Note: To get an idea of taste, my mom’s favorite mystery writers include Robin Paige and Kate Ross for modern and Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers for classics.
Thanks to Minotaur for the advance reading copy. Thanks, mom, for being a guest reviewer.