A thrilling Hollywood whodunit set in Canada.
Hollywood public-relations superstar Joe Bernardi is back. He’s working in Quebec City on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s I Confess, starring Montgomery Clift and Anne Baxter, trying to do damage control for the ever-volatile relationship between Clift and Hitchcock. The director thinks actors should be seen and not heard (unless filming a scene), and Clift wants to be more than a puppet. In the midst of these problems, Joe starts a small relationship with Jeanne d’Arcy, a member of the Quebec Province Film Commission. When Jeanne’s ex-boyfriend Daniel Bruckner, a prominent attorney involved in a high-profile mob case, is found murdered in his apartment, Jeanne is the key suspect, having been seen arguing with Daniel just hours before his death. Joe assures the police of Jeanne’s innocence and soon begins his own investigation, with many potential murderers surrounding him. Could it have been Daniel’s wife? Her lover? Daniel’s business partner? Or was this a mob hit? Each discovery leads Joe closer to danger. Fischer’s (Jezebel in Blue Satin, 2011, etc.) credits as a Hollywood screenwriter include Murder, She Wrote; Columbo; and a 1985 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, so it’s no surprise that he knows how to hook readers. Though there are a handful of famous faces in the novel, they’re not the key players. Unlike on the movie sets Joe frequents, he’s the star of this show, and fans of this series will thoroughly enjoy his step back into the spotlight. The work itself is well-paced, with exceptional, believable dialogue and development. This is no stop/start mystery: Everything flows well, and the characters are complex. Fischer also did a splendid job of researching his subject. Though it’s no secret that Clift was a method actor and that he and Hitchcock did not get along, Clift makes reference to “Elizabeth” coming to visit him, a nod to Elizabeth Taylor, one of the actor’s closest friends. These little tidbits of information add fullness and reality to the Hollywood portion of the tale. Joe’s latest turn is not only for fans of the series, but for anyone who loves a good whodunit.
An addicting thriller with murder, mystery and Hitchcock.