Female World War II fighter pilot goes undercover on movie lot.
Fresh from her adventure foiling a Nazi plot in Detroit (Lipstick and Lies, 2007), plucky Pucci Lewis receives an unusual secret assignment from her bosses at WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots). The mysterious Miss C sends her to Fort Roach, a former movie studio converted to an Army base and the current home of the First Motion Picture Unit (FMPU), which churns out training films and propaganda features to bolster American morale. As a technical advisor and documentary film pilot, Pucci will be checking to make sure that military women are not frivolously depicted. But she’ll be checking as well on the suspicious plane crash that sidelined Frankie Beall, the pilot she’s replacing at the studio. Working for the intense producer Roland Novaro, Pucci finds all the sexism and condescension toward female pilots that Miss C had feared. More startling is the constant infighting among Novaro, his editor Rask and abrasive director Brody. Whispers around the hospital where Frankie clings to life spark rumors of sabotage on her doomed flight, rumors Pucci confirms with a visit to airplane mechanic Mad Max(ine) Beacock. Several screen stars make cameo appearances, and Bela Lugosi and his curvaceous “niece” Ilka figure more prominently in the story. More deaths, starting with Brody’s, convince Pucci of the urgency of her assignment.
Liesche packs her wide-eyed adventure with tidbits about aeronautics, vintage Hollywood and the war, honoring the underappreciated women who made such a difference.