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Death Was In The Picture    by Linda L. Richards order for
Death Was In The Picture
by Linda L. Richards
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Having been bowled over earlier by Death Was the Other Woman, and having noted in my earlier BookLoons review of that title by Linda L. Richards that I looked forward to another appearance by the beautiful and exciting Kitty Pangborn, I have been sufficiently rewarded in my reading of the second installment in Ms. Richards' series.

Clever, energetic, and sexy - which I noted in the previous review - the narrator Kitty Pangborn is the secretary to P.I. Dexter J. Theroux, a 'tall and dreamy' sleuth in Los Angeles where Theroux's usual clientele includes jealous wives, suspicious business partners, and stingy insurance companies. Now, though, in Death Was In The Picture, an enigmatic fellow with questionable motivation and background hires Theroux to keep an eye on movie star Laird Wyndham with hopes of making certain discoveries about Wyndham's questionable morals.

Well, quicker than you can say Hollywood Boulevard, Theroux - with Kitty as his irrepressible assistant - finds out that Wyndham has wound up in jail on charges of having murdered a young starlet. One would think, therefore, that Theroux's and Kitty's job is done since Wyndham's new role as accused murderer would certainly seem to add up to questionable morals.

In an abrupt change of direction, though, Wyndham and his intensely protective attorney hire Theroux (and, of course, Kitty is very much a part of the package). Their new job is simple: clear Wyndham by nailing the reprobate responsible for the murder. So, working with a clever plan, Kitty and Theroux go undercover at the MGM studios, learn some provocative bits of information about eccentric people, pressure those people to reveal some dirty little secrets, and - when all is more or less wrapped up in a tidy little package that includes something resembling a solution - what they are really left with when they finally close the case is the delicious irony of some rather shadowy 'divine justice.'

A good, old-fashioned gumshoe novel set in the early 1930s, Death Was In The Picture has it all: secrets, foul play, out-of-control passions, quirky characters, and - of course - several murders(?) thrown into the mix. The bottom line is this: Stylish and great fun, just like Richards' earlier offering, Death Was In The Picture is first-rate entertainment, so don't miss it.

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