Star Struck Dead

Written by Sheila York
Review by Steve Lewis

The year is 1946, and Lauren Atwill is a Hollywood screenwriter who stumbles across a gang of blackmailers in this, a medium-boiled mystery novel that the front cover promises to be the first in a series. There’s murder, too, which almost goes without saying, and a good-looking private eye who comes to her assistance. The blackmailers, though, to get back to the main agenda, specialize in taking pictures whose subjects, people in and around the movie industry, do not wish to be made public.
The historical setting, generally reminiscent of the days of black-and-white postwar cinema, seems accurate, with one minor exception. Science fiction paperbacks did not exist in 1946, not in any abundance. The case itself, while thoroughly enjoyable, is overly complicated and runs its course in fits and sudden jolts, requiring repeated recaps and yet with an ending that has to be read twice for complete understanding.
Uneven, then, is what I’m suggesting, but if you’re a fan of B-movie Hollywood, be on the lookout for this one. You wouldn’t want to miss it.