Genre: 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.

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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

Blog Book Tour | “The Wish Rider” (Book No.2 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey

Posted Wednesday, 7 September, 2016 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for the F.I.G. Mysteries series hosted by iRead Book Tours. As I prefer to read serial fiction in order of publication and/or order of the series (if differential), I requested to receive the first novel in order to understand the second in sequence. This is my second review for the tour which is anchoured to my first review highlighting it’s beginning from yesterday! I received a complimentary copy of “The Wish Rider” direct from the author Barbara Casey in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Wish Rider” (Book No.2 of the F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara CaseyThe Wish Rider
by Barbara Casey
Source: Author via iRead Book Tours

Eighteen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.'s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that

Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1942314448

Also by this author: The Cadence of Gypsies

Also in this series: The Cadence of Gypsies


Genres: Amateur Detective, Upper YA Fiction, YA Contemporary


Published by Hungry Goat Press

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 160

Published By: Hungry Goat Press (@HungryGoatPress)

an imprint of Gauthier Publications

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Note: Corrected the Synopsis to reflect Dara is eighteen when the story begins, not seventeen.

About Barbara Casey

Barbara Casey

Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

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Posted Wednesday, 7 September, 2016 by jorielov in Apothecary, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Herbalist, Indie Author, iRead Book Tours, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy, Orphans & Guardians, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction

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