Valentino Will Die (Bianca Dangereuse Hollywood Mysteries 2)

Written by Donis Casey
Review by Janice M. Derr

Hollywood has finally paired the gorgeous Bianca LaBelle, star of the silent film series The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse, opposite legendary heartthrob Rudolph Valentino. Despite being two of the most desirable people on screen, the pair have never been romantically involved but are very close friends. Bianca knows something has been troubling Rudy, and it isn’t just the mysterious illness that has been bothering him for weeks. He confides in her that he has been receiving anonymous death threats. While in New York promoting a movie, Rudy is rushed to the hospital and is gravely ill. He suspects he has been poisoned and pleads with Bianca to find the culprit.

Casey’s second in the Bianca Dangereuse Hollywood Mystery series immediately transports the reader to 1920s Hollywood glamour while also showing the gritty reality. The descriptions of film scenes are full of dramatic body language and fast action, making them easy to envision as films from the era. The nod to silent films is represented graphically, too, with each chapter beginning with a short bit of text in an elaborately decorated black box, reminiscent of title cards used at the time. Stars of the day like Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin make appearances. I hadn’t read the first book in the series, but I had no trouble getting caught up in this fast-paced and fun read. There is a brief allusion to Bianca’s past, but it didn’t impair my understanding of the story. I’m looking forward to the next installment.