Beauty-queen-turned-biographer Cece Caruso (I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason, 2004) and her two best gal pals head to the desert for a mystery conference that includes a real live corpse.
Chronicling the life of Nancy Drew author Carolyn Keene isn’t easy. For one thing, she didn’t exist. But encouraged by twin booksellers Dena and Victoria Dalthorp, Cece tries her best to tell the story of the whole Stratemeyer Syndicate, from Edward S. himself to ghostwriter Mildred Wirt Benson. Most interesting for her are the illustrations of Russell Tandy, whose model Grace Horton brought Nancy to life. Deciding to make Grace the subject of her keynote at the Nancy Drew Society of Chums convention, Cece packs her friends Lael and Bridget and two of Bridget’s Louis Vuitton suitcases into a borrowed pink convertible for the trip to Palm Springs. Antiques collector Edgar Edwards—whose roomful of first-edition “Blue Nancys” makes Cece drool—lends the trio his palatial home. But shortly after their arrival, they find unmistakable signs that Edgar and his boyfriend Jake Waite are there, too: Jake’s jeans are on the floor of the master bedroom and Edgar’s body is out in the backyard. Quicker than they can say Clue in the Collector’s Closet, Cece and her LAPD detective boyfriend Peter Gambino are on the trail of a killer who may not stop after Chapter 1.
Fact-filled and funny: a worthy successor to Cece’s bright debut.