The Brink of Fame
Emily Daggett Weiss dreams about directing silent movies, something she thinks she could do better than her director husband. But when he loses their film company in a poker game and flees to Mexico with a new paramour, she’s left stranded in Flagstaff. Broke and furious, Emily finds a friend in attractive detective Holbert Bruns, who is on the trail of Universal’s missing star. Bruns offers her a sympathetic ear and, more importantly, a job.
Emily doesn’t know a thing about investigating, but is willing to tag along if it means a paycheck and a trip to Hollywood. “Uncle” Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal, is desperate and wants the case wrapped up with a minimum of press. Despite Emily not having a lick of experience, he offers her a prize directing job if she helps Bruns locate the missing star.
This is a fun, breezy mystery populated with colorful characters. The second in a series set around the early film industry, it reads like a stand-alone novel. Emily is an interesting character – aspiring-film-director-turned-detective – with a nice mix of spunky and genteel. Fleming has done her research, and creates a lively 1910s Hollywood in which to immerse us. A snappy voice, quick pace, and well-plotted mystery make for an excellent summer read.