The Darkness Knows: A Viv and Charlie Mystery

Written by Cheryl Honigford
Review by Cindy Vallar

Former secretary Vivian Witchell plays a gumshoe’s sidekick on radio station WCHI’s The Darkness Knows. She likes the attention the press pays her until after she trips over a dead body one late night in October 1938. Now reporters want interviews, the police ask questions, and a fan mentions her in a threatening letter. Of course, Vivian’s not thoroughly convinced the murderer will really come after her; then someone tries to kill her at the annual Halloween party. She became an actress because she craved excitement, so she’s not about to sit around and wait to be killed. Nor will she allow another actress to take over such a plum role. If that happens, she might as well bid her career goodbye.

Private detective Charlie Haverman is the special consultant for The Darkness Knows. The station manager also hires him to protect Vivian, but that task proves challenging. She won’t stay home, and she insists on poking her nose into his investigation into the murder. In fact, her presence vexes him almost as much as her dates with the debonair actor who plays Harvey Diamond, gumshoe extraordinaire on the radio drama. As secrets, lies, and suspects mount, so does Vivian and Charlie’s relationship. When they get too close, the killer decides they both need to die.

Murder with a hint of romance and scandal introduces readers to the Viv and Charlie Mystery series. Honigford vividly recreates Chicago during the Depression. The depth of her research and her realistic portrayal of old-time radio transport readers back to its golden age, when listeners gathered around their sets to hear The Shadow, Boston Blackie, or The Thin Man. This is a thrilling adventure laced with humor that keeps readers guessing whodunit until the end.