Fade to Black

Della Borton, Author
Della Borton, Author Fawcett Books $5.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-449-00407-4
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In a change of pace from her Cat Caliban series, Borton (Six Feet Under) introduces Gilda Liberty, who, smarting from a recent break up, returns to her hometown of Eden, Ohio, for the funeral of her aunt Mae Liberty, an Oscar-winning actress. Here she is reunited with several generations of eccentric Libertys, all of whom are tangled up with the movies. Soon Gilda finds herself caught up in mysterious events that seem somehow related to Mae's death. First she finds that important papers are missing from Mae's bedroom and that her last word was ""Rosebud"" (even though she never liked Citizen Kane). Gilda can't understand why several Libertys suddenly become hostile toward their ""honorary uncle,"" Mae's long-time admirer, Julius Cole. Then, all too soon, Julius's burnt corpse is found inside the torched remains of the town's chain theater (rival to the independent theater that Gilda has just inherited). Gilda, teaming with S. Styles, a female PI, begins to uncover Julius's trail of real estate schemes and blackmail. Next, the family special-effects expert is murdered, too, and it's up to Gilda to put all the pieces together. In the end, Borton's memorably wacky characters and incessant Hollywood references add up to a fun read. (Apr.)
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