Review: Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

design for dying galley.indd

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Forge Books
Source: Publisher

  1. The reason I choose to write this review list-format is because it’s Sunday and suddenly I am very sad that the weekend is ending.
  2. Obviously this has nothing to do with the book but I thought I’d get it out there so you are all aware of my state of mind while writing this review.
  3. Which, it is pretty obvious right now, goes up on Tuesday.
  4. Anyway, Renee Patrick has written a damned fine beginning to what I hope will be a gloriously long series because reading Lillian Frost and Edith Head solving mysteries while their fashion is on fleek is fun.
  5. I wonder though that the series is called “Edith Head Mysteries” because while Edith does have a major role in the story it is Lillian Frost who actually does the solving. Edith is a wee bit busy designing costumes for movie stars.
  6. Maybe I will ask the author this question some day.
  7. The novel is targeted at an adult audience but there is absolutely no reason why young adults will not enjoy it just as much for reasons I will get into just a little later.
  8. Lillian Frost had dreams about being a movie star but these dreams fizzled out soon after she failed her first (and only) screen test and realized her acting talent registered somewhere in the negatives.
  9. So she got a job at a department store and well, the job isn’t fun and all of us who have done our time in retail can attest to that but it feeds her and keeps her in LA where she can at least breathe in the same air as the moviemakers do.
  10. Her ex-friend Ruby whose dreams of stardom are very much is found murdered and suspicion falls swiftly on Lillian because the police are just that incapable and boorish (in the book. I have no opinion of the police as I do not often have dealings with them). (I knocked on wood.)
  11. Lillian does not actively decide to figure out what happened to Ruby–she just somehow goes with the flow and pretty soon she is helping the wardrobe mistress at Paramount (Edith Head) figure things out. Actually, Lillian does the grunt work while Edith does the calculating.
  12. Things are really scrambled and the ending identifies a villain that I didn’t really suspect.
  13. If you’ve watched Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries you will probably enjoy this one a whole lot.
  14. The book is set in 1930s Hollywood and if you know your old Hollywood well, you will be able to identify many names littered throughout the novel.
  15. Lillian Frost is an extremely likable heroine. She’s very level headed and practical but instead of making her annoying, these qualities make her capable and the first person I would want to solve my murder.
  16. Just kidding. That would be Miss Fisher’s pleasure.
  17. There’s a sly wit to the narrative that I found irresistible. Some of the dialogues are wry, cheeky, and unexpected. These things add spice to the narrative and make the story extremely fun to read.
  18. The romance, what little of it is present, is extremely intriguing and I’m definitely ready to see it develop further (though I like that it remains on the sidelines).
  19. The 1930s slang is woven seamlessly into the narrative and I love that you don’t get a self-conscious air from the vernacular used.
  20. I loved the female friendship present so prominently and I loved that Patrick takes time to develop all female characters as complex individual people with their own stories.
  21. So yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.
  22. If you like detective stories, old Hollywood, and intrepid heroines, read this one. I definitely recommend it.