Category: Amateur Detective

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!

Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from a publicist at Tor/Forge in regards to this lovely new Historical Mysteries series I had not had the pleasure of finding out about previously! I was quite excited about what the scope of the series might entertain as I have a fond appreciation for Old Hollywood and the treasure trove of movies one can experience through the channel Turner Classic Movies (or TCM for short). Being one of the lead characters was Edith Head (a woman of interest of my own from Hollywood’s past) it felt like a wicked good fit for me to accept this series for review. Especially as I love watching old films as a stepping stone towards ‘discovering’ new actors and actresses I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing before and in effect become my ‘new favourites’ even decades after their careers ended. There is a pulse inside those films and I love watching the fashions change as much as the settings and story-lines!

I received a complimentary copy of “Design for Dying” direct from the publisher Forge (an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly interested in this new Mystery series:

First of all, I have a deep appreciation for Old Hollywood and Classic Movies of yesteryear – I grew up with this passion for black and white movies – going back to a quintessential holiday favourite of mine: ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ followed by ‘White Christmas’. I grew up on James Stewart films especially, as he was such a wicked good actor who could move between family films, drama and suspense (ie. Hitchcock!). By the time I discovered TCM (Turner Classic Movies) in my late teens / early twenties, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion Classic Movies would become a fixture of my viewing pleasure; yet it wasn’t until my mid to late twenties and early thirties that I started to *devour!* the offerings of TCM!

I even stumbled across the collective works of Cari Beauchamp (a wicked sweet Hollywood biographer!) prior to being a book blogger whilst fully engaged in the context of her book: Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary: Her Private Letters from Inside the Studios of the 1920s. Ever since I came across her writings, I’ve longed to attend the TCM: Classic Film Festival and mingle with others who love Classic Hollywood! I still itch to read through her collective works and seek out other titles by writers who are encompassing the same zest of love for this wicked time in film history!

One of my pet projects prior to being a book blogger was compiling a list of titles about Old Hollywood – most of the books were hard to fetch via ILL (inter-library loan) due to the heaviness of their volumes, which is why my ILL List soon became a Wish List of Purchases! lol On that list are biographies about Edith Head, as I had come to find her styles being represented through the films I was watching on TCM. The beauty of TCM is being able to find #newtomeactors of a begone age where women had the luxury of having a healthy body image & a definitive style where the fashions of Hollywood not only pushed new boundaries of fabric & craft but gave an eloquence to film-making at the same time! I love drinking in the styles of the 1920s – 1940s especially as they are such a cardinal imprint of class, sophistication and individuality.

When the publicist at Tor/Forge reached out to me about the mysteries involving Edith Head, I didn’t even have to think hard about accepting them! I did request receiving ‘Design for Dying’ alongside ‘Dangerous to Know’ as I felt the best way to entreat into an established series is to read the very first entry, wherein I could get a solid footing for the background of the characters and feel the continuity between installments!

As I will be blogging my ruminations back to back – if you return on Friday, you’ll get a special delight in reading my conversation with the authors behind this delishly vintage series, too! I loved how I even have a small tidbit about the ‘length and scope of time’ we all have coming towards us as the series expands and continues to grow! I am ever so excited for these two showcases as one thing I love about Old Hollywood is how quirky and comedic the ‘back-stories’ can be surrounding what is readily known but also, how delightfully quirky their lives were because they were defining the rules as they lived! There wasn’t a structure to everything back then – you could carve out a life between the lines and craft together a living on sheer determined will, pure wit and the daring conviction to pull it all off! And, that is what I loved about this series – as it embodies the fierce grit of daring possibilities to carve out your own path and live it with confidence!

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Notation on Cover Art Design: For a girl who once considered studying Costume Design at Ole Miss, I must confess I love the whole vintage texture and vibe of this cover art! I even love how there is this allure of ‘who could that be entering through the theshold’ whilst focusing on the dress of the woman in front of the mirror! Part of my allure of following the legacy of Edith Head is my passion for vintage fashion and costume design. A bit of this was revealled recently on my review of ‘How to be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World’ – but more to the point, I love how the typography, the setting and the art direction of this cover pull you forward into a plausible entry point to re-trace the footsteps of Edith Head.

Book Review | “Design for Dying” (Book No.1 of the Lillian Frost & Edith Head novels) by Renee Patrick A wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series set during Hollywood’s Golden Years!Design for Dying
Subtitle: A Lillian Frost and Edith Head Novel
by Renee Patrick
Source: Direct from Publisher

The salon and the case files are open...

Meet Lillian Frost. A transplanted New Yorker with a boundless love of the movies and a single lousy screen test to her credit.

Meet Edith Head. The costume designer who, over the course of a career spanning seven decades, would be nominated for more Academy Awards than any other woman. Who dressed the most glamorous stars in history. Who worked closely with directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.

Meet the sleuthing duo about to become Hollywood’s greatest detectives.

Los Angeles, 1937. Lillian Frost has traded dreams of stardom for security as a department store salesgirl ... until she discovers she’s a suspect in the murder of her former roommate Ruby Carroll. Party girl Ruby died wearing a gown she stole from the wardrobe department at Paramount Pictures, domain of Edith Head.

Edith has yet to win the first of her eight Academy Awards; right now she’s barely hanging on to her job, and a scandal is the last thing she needs. To clear Lillian’s name and save Edith’s career, the two women join forces. Unraveling the mystery pits them against a Hungarian princess on the lam, a hotshot director on the make, and a private investigator who’s not on the level.

All they have going for them are dogged determination, assists from the likes of Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck, and a killer sense of style. In show business, that just may be enough…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780765381859

Also by this author: Dangerous to Know

Also in this series: Dangerous to Know


Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fashion Industry, Film History | Classic Hollywood, Noir Crime Drama


Published by Forge

on 7th March, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Forge (@torbooks) | Read their incredible BLOG

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Hardcover + Ebook

About Renee Patrick

Married writing team of Rosemarie & Vince Keenan, known as Renee Patrick. Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

Renee Patrick is the pseudonym for married authors Rosemarie and Vince Keenan. Rosemarie is a research administrator and a poet. Vince is a screenwriter and a journalist. Both native New Yorkers, they currently live in Seattle, Washington.

Photo Credit: David Hiller, 2015

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 19 April, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Barbara Stanwyck, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), California, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, Edith Head, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Inspired by Stories, Lady Detective Fiction, Noir Crime Drama, Old Hollywood, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Thirties, Vintage Clothes & Boutiques, Vulgarity in Literature

Blog Book Tour | “Death at the Paris Exposition” (Book No.6 of the Emily Cabot Mysteries) by Frances McNamara Better known as the new Cosy Historical Mystery series Jorie cannot wait to read in full!

Posted Friday, 9 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Death at the Paris Exposition” direct from the author Frances McNamara in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The reason why I wanted to read a new Cosy Historical Mystery series:

Hallo, dear hearted readers – My interest in reading this book is multi-layered to be honest! My grandparents attended the World’s Fair in Chicago in the early 20th Century (see also this article), and had passed down their memories and enthusiasm about attending the event at young ages. I was equally fascinated by World Fairs for as long as I can remember – as I learnt of them in a joint (class) discussion between my Science & History studies in middle school. To attend an event like that and see first-hand the innovation and invention arriving new to the world – had to be immediately awe-inspiring! This fond fascination of my own, predated my knowledge of my grandparents attendance! On the same vein of thought, my favourite bits of Epcot to visit as a child were Innoventions, Journey into Imagination with Figment, World of Motion, Universe of Energy and of course I loved Tomorrowland at Disney! Lest I mention how much I loved Robin Williams exhibit as his character came alive in Tomorrowland as “the Timekeeper”!

I have always marvelled at innovations – to be on the brink of something radically dynamic and new to shape the tomorrows of the future has always endeared my curiosity and enriched my imagination! How could it not!?

I have wanted to seek out literature about the Fairs for a long while. Further encouraged when I attended the BookTalk Nation chat (between readers & writers – BookTalk Nation was a wicked pro-positive event encouraging book discussions openly between the bookish!) with Deeanne Gist! She was releasing her own novel at the time about the Chicago World’s Fair: It Happened at the Fair! She revealled that the inspiration for “The Wizard of Oz” was tied to the same fair – imagine!? I am still a few releases behind this one in my readings of her stories, but I have happily earmarked this one to read once I arrive back inside my readings! There are other one-offs and series I’d love to seek out inasmuch as non-fiction releases that might talk about the World Fairs & Expositions in greater scope – as it’s simply a topic of living history I love uncovering!

Counter-current to this interest is my on-going passion and pursuit of finding Cosy Historical Mysteries – not entirely focused on one-offs necessarily, as I much prefer the breadth of serial fiction – I wanted to take a chance on the Emily Cabot Mysteries all the same! At the time when I signed up to participate in the tour – I had fully intended to borrow the first book in the series – Death at the Fair – via inter-library loan! However, this Summer I had my hands full dealing with tech issues, connectivity difficulties, an ant invasion and enough lightning storms to wish I lived somewhere that had more blizzards than lightning; snow I can handle! Lightning? Oy vie.

Similar to how I entered the Coffeehouse Mysteries (by Cleo Coyle) and the Bess Crawford Mysteries (by Charles Todd) – so too, is my entrance a bit of field of sequence with the Emily Cabot Mysteries! I rarely brake a series order – by sometimes life has a way of interrupting your plans! To say I was most eager to meet my next spunky female sleuth would be putting it mildly, dear hearts! Oh! Reading mysteries is as regenerative as a cuppa of tea!

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Blog Book Tour | “Death at the Paris Exposition” (Book No.6 of the Emily Cabot Mysteries) by Frances McNamara Better known as the new Cosy Historical Mystery series Jorie cannot wait to read in full!Death at the Paris Exposition
Subtitle: An Emily Cabot Mystery
by Frances McNamara
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Amateur sleuth Emily Cabot’s journey once again takes her to a world’s fair–the Paris Exposition of 1900. Chicago socialite Bertha Palmer is named the only female U. S. commissioner to the Exposition and enlists Emily’s services as her secretary.

Their visit to the House of Worth for the fitting of a couture gown is interrupted by the theft of Mrs. Palmer’s famous pearl necklace. Before that crime can be solved, several young women meet untimely deaths and a member of the Palmer’s inner circle is accused of the crimes.

As Emily races to clear the family name she encounters jealous society ladies, American heiresses seeking titled European husbands, and more luscious gowns and priceless jewels. Along the way, she takes refuge from the tumult at the country estate of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. In between her work and sleuthing, she is able to share the Art Nouveau delights of the Exposition, and the enduring pleasures of the City of Light with her family.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780996755832

Genres: Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Allium Press of Chicago

on 1st September, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 278

Published By: Allium Press of Chicago (@alliumpress)

Author’s page on Allium Press of Chicago

The Emily Cabot Mysteries:

Death at the Fair | No. 1 | Synopsis

Death at Hull House | No. 2 | Synopsis

Death at Pullman | No. 3| Synopsis

Death at Woods Hole | No. 4 | Synopsis

Death at Chinatown | No. 5 | Synopsis

Death at the Paris Exposition | No. 6 | this review!

Converse via: #HistoricalMystery, #HistMyst, #CosyMystery + #HistFic
Available Formats: Paperback and E-Book

About Frances McNamara

Frances McNamara

Frances McNamara grew up in Boston, where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. She has degrees from Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges, and formerly worked as a librarian at the University of Chicago. When not working or writing she can be found sailing on the Charles River in Boston or beaching on Cape Cod.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 9 September, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Art History, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Berta Honore Palmer, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, France, French Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mary Cassatt, Passionate Researcher, Sociological Behavior, the Nineteen Hundreds

#LadyDarby Book Blast w/ Notes by Jorie! | #BookBlogger celebrates what she loves about this Historical Mystery series!

Posted Monday, 11 July, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

As Death Draws Near blog tour via HFVBTs

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess!

I requested to participate in the Book Blast as a way to celebrate my love of the #LadyDarby series! I had originally thought this was a bonefide blog tour and Ms Bruno helped me get into touch with the author Ms Huber. I was truly blessed as the author and publisher surprised me with a complimentary bound manuscript copy of ‘As Death Draws Near’ of which will be alighting on my blog in short order, as I’ve spent the past week reading and blogging my ruminative thoughts on behalf of the series! Today I am sharing my joy of the series overall, leading up to my final review for the #LadyDarby series thus far published in print!

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Why I originally wanted to read the Lady Darby series:

I, must admit, it’s wicked delightful to find such a riveting Cosy Historical Mystery series – for me, personally one of the attractions to reading the Lady Darby series is the Gothic undertones, the lush settings of its locales in the Highlands of Scotland, but moreso to the point for me is the style of how the stories are being penned! They are blissfully written without the blights of vulgarity and at the heart of the stories, is this beautifully engaging romance between two determinedly independent lead characters: Lady (Kiera) Darby and Mr (Sebastian) Gage!

I was smitten about the series at first glance – when I first read the synopsis for The Anatomist’s Wife, I had suspicion right then & there that I would be soon treated to a series that would capture my mind & heart! There was simply something about it – the premise was such a curiously refreshing spin on the genre’s offerings!

I was wicked happy when I caught sight of these lovelies at my local library – as I truly did read this series by borrowing the books whilst blogging my thoughts upon them! It was a blessing to finally give back the love I had originally captured through reading about Lady Darby two years ago – if I could inspire new readers to take a chance on this series, the circle was truly complete for me! One of the things that stands out immediately is how Huber crafts the continuity of the series – in each installment, you gather small pieces or clues you will find re-occur or become more important in successive stories in sequence! She knits together such a finely envisioned series, you cannot help but spend time inside the breadth of what she’s left behind for us to enjoy!

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#LadyDarby Book Blast w/ Notes by Jorie! | #BookBlogger celebrates what she loves about this Historical Mystery series!As Death Draws Near Book Blast (Series Notes)
Subtitle: A Lady Darby Mystery
by Anna Lee Huber

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9780425277720

Also by this author: The Anatomist's Wife, Mortal Arts, A Grave Matter, A Study in Death

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


on 5th July, 2016

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
The Lady Darby Mysteries:

The Anatomist’s Wife | No.1 | (see Review)

Mortal Arts | No.2 | (see Review)

A Grave Matter | No.3 | (see Review)

A Study in Death | No.4 | (see Review)

A Pressing Engagement | No.4.5 (e-novella) | Synopsis

As Death Draws Near | No.5 | Synopsis | Happy #PubDay 5th of July, 2016

Published By: Berkley Prime Crime (@BerkleyMystery)

imprint of Berkley Publishing (@BerkleyPub)

via Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

About Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber

Anna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. From a young age, her imagination was boundless. She spent her summers with her brothers and sister playing Star Wars, wearing snow boots and her mother's old nightgowns while swinging plastic bats as light-sabers, and The A-Team hanging off the riding lawn mower (what else were they supposed to use for the van?). In the fourth grade, she penned her first story, and she’s been writing ever since.

Anna attended college in Music City USA-Nashville, Tennessee, where she met her husband while acting in a school production of Our Town. They married just before she graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Psychology. She now pens the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series for Berkley Publishing. Her debut novel, The Anatomist’s Wife, has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including a Daphne du Maurier Award and two 2013 RITA® Awards.

Anna is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She currently lives in Indiana with her family, and when not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.

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Posted Monday, 11 July, 2016 by jorielov in 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Blitz, Bookish Discussions, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Lady Detective Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Writing Style & Voice

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