As 1932 ends, award-winning novelist and playwright Edna Ferber attends Noel Coward’s extravagant birthday party. The room is full of New York’s elite and includes rising Broadway star Belinda Ross and her moody, wealthy boyfriend, Dougie Maddox. The couple upstages the party with a raucous fight, revealing the volatile nature of their relationship. Dougie, also the backer of Belinda’s latest show, is obsessive and jealous of the attention his beautiful girlfriend receives. When she is found murdered in an alley a few days after the party, no one is surprised Dougie is the police’s main suspect. Only Noel Coward believes Dougie is innocent and he enlists Edna to help him get to the bottom of things.
As usual, Ifkovic’s dialog is the star. The witty banter between Edna and Noel is engaging and fun to read. Also intriguing is Edna’s observation of the juxtaposition between her high society friends and those lining the streets of New York waiting for hours in bread lines. The mystery falls a little flat, however; while there are plenty of suspects, none are very interesting or well developed. Not the best in the series, but I look forward to seeing what mystery Edna becomes entangled in next.