“The Case Of the Stained Stilettos: A Luce and Wilde Hollywood Mystery,” is a wonderful, delightful, and exceptionally well written mix of the Old Hollywood of the forties and fifties (the golden age) and the Hollywood of today (2020). It is the type of book, that will satisfy lovers of the old Hollywood with glamorous stars like Clark Cable and Carole Lombard, Bogard and Bacall, and Errol Flynn and Oliva de Havilland and the new generation with such stars as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson.

At the very center of the story is Mercy Wilde, a beautiful, classy, private detective who wears Stilettos to both murder scenes and Hollywood parties, but has the sense to take them off when she is kicking ass on a basketball court. She is tough, yet sexy… Playful, yet brilliantly analytic and madly in love with her debonair husband, Joseph Luce, who is a Defense Attorney and together they investigate crimes. Joseph, no fool, is also madly in love with Mercy.

Mercy’s sister, Lucienne, is an LAPD homicide detective and whereas she might not be as well dressed and stylist, she is just as pretty running around in sneakers, cagey pants and a sweat shirt as she arrests criminals at an impressive rate, and has the highest percentage of convictions in the whole LAPD.

The mother of both these supercharged women is Francesca Wilde, an award-winning actress whose talent and beauty are legendary in tinsel town, and though over forty she is still in high in demand and on the cover of all the entertainment tabloids.

When Francesca’s friend, another legendary Hollywood actress, Dana Montgomery, throws a party, murder is on the menu, and because of their mother’s celebrity both Mercy, Lucienne, and Joseph are also invited, along with a ‘who’s who’ in Hollywood.

Mercy and Joseph (Luce and Wilde) investigate the murder, with help from Lucienne, and along the way we are introduced to an array of fantastic characters, and it was fun for me to figure out who theses characters might be based on in real life.

I did not figure out who did it to the very end when it was revealed, but it was a fun ride all along with witty dialogue, two adorable cats, fragile egos, glamorous settings, and an extremely well developed plot. Melissa J. L. Smith, a veteran Hollywood insider, has written a book I highly recommend. This is the first in a series, and already I can’t wait for the second book.


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