Author: Denise Hamilton
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction.
Pages: 384, plus a reader's guide and an interview with the author
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A black cat sits on a white-sheeted bed, staring at an old-fashioned telephone. A glamorous red dress hangs in the background.
First line: "It felt like she'd been running for days."
Best part: Really impossible to predict whodunit.
Worst part: The ending was perhaps a bit unbelievable.
Recommended for: Fans of noir.
Related Reads: The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe (a fantasy revisioning of noir), The Book of Air and Shadows (set in modern times, but with a strong noir feel), The Genius by Jesse Kellerman (a mystery with some of the same qualities of glamour and surrealness).
Lily Kessler has no place. She lost her family long ago. World War II took the life of her fiance. The war's end took her job as a successful covert operative. Trying to find a life to reconnect with, she travels to meet the family that would have been her in-laws. But here, she finds more questions than answers. His sister is missing in her native Los Angeles, and his mother thinks that Lily is the one who can uncover the truth. LA's glamour and glitter mask webs of intrigues and jealousy. Will Lily's wartime skills come back in time to save her life?
Great setting, great time period, believable characters, interesting and sometimes funny dialogue, and a true plethora of plausible suspects. It's fascinating to see noir done with this mixture of modern sensibility and authentic feeling. B-.