The early summer of 1909 finds Emily Cabot eagerly anticipating a relaxing vacation with her family. Before they can depart, however, she receives news that her brother, Alden, has been involved in a shooting death at the Selig Polyscope silent movie studios on Chicago’s northwest side. She races to investigate, along with her friend Detective Henry Whitbread. There they discover a sprawling backlot, complete with ferocious jungle animals and the celluloid cowboys Tom Mix and Broncho Billy. As they dig deeper into the situation, they uncover furtive romantic liaisons between budding movie stars and an attempt by Thomas Edison to maintain his stranglehold over the emerging film industry. Before the intrepid amateur sleuth can clear her brother’s name she faces a serious break with the detective; a struggle with her adolescent daughter, who is obsessed with the filming of the original Wizard of Oz movie; and threats upon her own life. (via Amazon)
This is book 7 of the Emily Cabot mysteries, and I love this entertaining and well-plotted series that blends interesting facts from history with a lively fictional protagonist. Each volume can stand alone. Emily finds herself mixed up with film makers in Chicago in this installment. To be honest, I didn’t realize that the early film industry was in part in Chicago before it came to California. At the end of this post I’ve included a You Tube link of a Selig Studios rendition of The Wizard of Oz from 1910, the movie they were filming in this novel. It certainly is different from the movie version most of us grew up with!
Ms. McNamara’s writing is always a treat and she often can write a mystery that I can’t figure out. This novel was yet another winner from her.
Thank you for my review copy, sent from the publishers: Allium Press of Chicago.