Friday, March 24, 2017

Dangerous to Know -- Renee Patrick

Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick (Vince and Rosemarie Keenan) is the second novel featuring Lillian Frost and Edith Head.  Lillian Frost is the social secretary to a millionaire movie fan and party-giver, while her friend Edith is the head (no pun intended) of Paramount's wardrobe department.  The year is 1938, and Hollywood is being affected a bit by the growing menace of Adolph Hitler in Europe.  Some of the novel is based on real events, particular a smuggling case that entangled both Jack Benny and George Burns.  Benny is my favorite radio comedian, and he's Frost's, too, so it's no wonder that I like  her.  Because Head and Frost have worked as amateur sleuths before, they get involved.  I don't know which member of the writing team got to write Benny's and Burns's dialogue, but it must have been tremendous fun to do, and it's done very well.

But the smuggling case is a minor problem.  The main case has to do with a pianist named Jens Lohse, who's disappeared.  Marlene Dietrich asks Head to try to find him, and Head enlists Frost.  The case becomes complicated with gangsters, Nazis, and more real-life Hollywood personalities than you can shake a stick at.  Lillian's love life gets more complicated, too.

The book is just plain fun to read, especially if you love movies and old Hollywood.  Patrick doesn't skimp on research, and the book's packed with details that ring absolutely true because they are.  Since both Frost and Head are at the beginnings of their careers, I hope we can look forward to many years of sequels to come.

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