The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case

George Baxt, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-312-09334-1
Baxt's seventh Tinseltown celebrity mystery , following last year's The Greta Garbo Murder Case , earns high marks for style and a passing grade for plot. It's New Year's Eve 1931 and a party at the plush Dietrich spread is in full swing. Groucho and Cary and the rest of the crew are there in force, as are the requisite fictional characters who serve as suspects, sleuths and stiffs. The party's featured attraction is Mai Mai Chu, a lady stargazer, who after obliquely predicting the Lindbergh kidnapping and the emergence of Adolf Hitler, fixes her glazed eyes on a group of seven party people and expires--poisoned by strychnine in her glass of bubbly. Cop Herb Villon must sort through the motley septet comprising an aristocratic Russian couple, a violinist, a munitions manufacturer and three others to find the killer. At his best serving up juicy movie lore and sly character studies, Baxt skillfully paints the Hollywood famous as catty, often cute and never less than frighteningly believable. But the surface sparkle doesn't quell our niggling sense that we already know a little too much of the narrative. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
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