A 1930s radio star is thrown together with a private eye when she’s next in line for murder.
Starting out as a secretary, ambitious Vivian lands an high-profile role on the radio show The Darkness Knows. After a platonic date with her smoldering co-star Graham, she discovers the body of Marjorie, an established star that nobody liked. The only thing worse than finding the dead body is discovering she’s named by the killer.
She’s protected by a handsome dark horse, the private eye Charlie Haverman, like a classic if somewhat kinder Philip Marlowe. The two of them end up in compromising and dangerous situations (sometimes both at the same time) in their quest to uncover a killer. Everyone’s keeping something back about the murder, even the private eye. And Viv’s dealing with the ongoing threat of her jobs being yanked away, especially with the equally ambitious Frances fighting her for every role.
The setting of Chicago in the 1930s is well captured without overwhelming. Vivian’s got gumption and she’s determined to have a career in an era where women were expected to work only until they got married. She isn’t perfect, but her flaws only serve to make her more human.
The mystery angle was well done and there were plenty of red herrings. The murderer was not obvious but seemed to come a little out of nowhere, I thought there could’ve been a few more clues thrown in.
Definitely looking forward to the next book, I hope to see more of 1930s Chicago and slowly learn more about Vivian and Charlie.