Lost Among the Angels
In 1926, Mercy Allcutt has traded in her Boston blueblood life for life in Los Angeles with her sister and brother-in-law, where she is determined (gasp!) to find a job that will give her the experience needed for her longed-for career as a novelist. She walks into the office of Ernest Templeton, private investigator, and the world-weary former cop soon won’t know what hit him. Taking pity on a girl who comes in to report her showgirl mother missing, she embarks on her own investigation, drawing in the reluctant Templeton. Their investigation takes them into Chinatown, seedy speakeasies, and the world of mobsters, just as far from Beacon Hill as you can get.
Mercy is the proverbial fish out of water that doesn’t understand the slang, refuses to bob her hair, and can’t imagine why a man would be indifferent to taking on a case. However, she’s conscious of her own naiveté, and while it does blind her to a denouement I suspected long before she did, she has enough guts and a certain instinct that makes her hard to dismiss. Los Angeles in the 1920s was a quainter version of what it is today, for all the hard-boiled types running around, and I see the beginnings of a series: Mercy Allcutt and Ernest Templeton, Investigators.