Saturday, October 18, 2014


Entertaining, unlikely and unputdownable - Mary Miley’s next after The Impersonator (2013) finds our heroine taking on a new persona - she is now Jessie Beckett, a former vaudevillian who has found her way to Hollywood, the Hollywood of 1925 that is.  By dint of good luck she lands a terrific job as temporary assistant to screen legend Douglas Fairbanks who is married to another screen legend, Mary Pickford.

As if that weren’t enough good fortune she’s invited to a posh party hosted by Director Bruno Heilmann.  Along with her best friend, the naive but beautiful Myrna Williams the two are ready for a really big night.  It is that in more ways than one.  Jessie meets one of the maids hired for the evening, Esther Frankel, who turns out to have known her mother in the old days of vaudeville.  Esther invites Jessie to come to her apartment to see some playbills that feature Jessie’s mother.  When Jessie arrives at Esther’s apartment the next morning she’s shocked to find Esther dead, bludgeoned to death.  To make the day even grimmer she finds out that Bruno Heilmann was also dead -slain after his party.

To muddy waters even further Lottie, Mary Pickford’s sister,  had been having an affair with him.   Fearing she will be suspected of killing Heilmann Fairbanks dispatches Jessie to his house to retrieve some unmentionables Lottie may have left behind.  Of course, the house is now a crime scene under police guard.  Does that stop our Jessie?  Not at all.

The body count mounts, Jessie is interrogated by a handsome young policeman, and a rather shady fellow who had once set Jessie’s heart aflutter shows up.  As Jessie tries to connect the dots of these murders she comes very close to being a victim herself.

Suspend belief for all the high jinks involved and enjoy the ride.  Mary Miley adds exciting new notes to the Jazz Age in Hollywood.

- Gail Cooke

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