cover image Sam Spade in the Green Room: A Cece Caruso Mystery

Sam Spade in the Green Room: A Cece Caruso Mystery

Susan Kandel, . . Morrow, $23.95 (324pp) ISBN 978-0-06-058109-1

Kandel's fun, stylish third Cece Caruso mystery (after 2005's Not a Girl Detective ) finds the tall, 40-ish, vintage fashion–fixated biographer consulting on the movie based on her new book, Dash! , starring heart-throb Rafe Simic ("of the rippling biceps and laid-back attitude") as Dashiell Hammett and his creation, Sam Spade. One problem, though—Rafe doesn't like to read. Cece and Rafe's research trip to San Francisco is interrupted when Rafe receives a call from the L.A. coroner's office asking him to identify a dead body. Back in Los Angeles, Rafe says the victim is Maren Levander, his childhood sweetheart and the sister of his best friend and manager, Will. Cece once again turns amateur detective in a plot sure to tickle Hammett fans. Venice Beach and the 1970s surfing scene serve as nostalgic background, while Cece's not always easy relationships with her cop fiancé, Peter Gambino, and her married grown daughter add human interest. 3-city author tour. (June)