Tell Me How It Ends

Written by Isabelle Grey
Review by Katherine Mezzacappa

London, 1963: the beautiful, enigmatic singer Delia Maxwell disappears the week she is supposed to sign her first film contract. Frank Landry, a security consultant with troubles of his own, is engaged by Delia’s record company to find her. During Delia’s absence a young fan turned protégée, the calculating and manipulative Lily Brooks, gets herself signed by the film producers in the older woman’s place, and even records what was to be Delia’s next song release. The plot is an acknowledged homage to the 1950 film All about Eve, but the twists here are more complex, and much darker. Lily claims to be Delia’s daughter, but who is she really? What drives Lily not just to take Delia’s place in the limelight, but to want to destroy her utterly? And why, even when Lily’s mask begins to slip and Delia learns the truth, does the older woman let her go straight ahead? This is a pacy read, confidently written; V.B. Grey is an established television screenwriter and as Isabelle Grey, is the author of a number of thrillers. Grey demonstrates an impressive industry knowledge of the technical business of making a film, without this ever weighing down the plot.

The story is told partly in the first person in Landry’s words, and partly in third person from the points of view of Delia and Lily. Sometimes the two latter strands are overly explicatory, which at times rather flattens the tension, and prevents the reader getting very far into the characters’ heads. But what Grey also gives us is a vivid portrait of the unscrupulous world of movie making, at a time when it was surprising just how much could still be kept out of the press.