cover image The Wrong Girl: The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse: Episode One

The Wrong Girl: The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse: Episode One

Donis Casey. Poisoned Pen, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4926-9918-7

Set mostly in Hollywood in 1926, this predictable series launch from Casey (the Alafair Tucker mysteries) introduces actor Bianca LaBelle, whose motion pictures about Bianca Dangereuse, “a Nelly Bly–type journalist and adventurer” are “the biggest money-making movie franchise in the entire Western world.” Bianca feels threatened after a private detective visits her at her Beverly Hills mansion to inquire about Graham Peyton, who went missing in 1921 and whose remains surfaced a week earlier on a Santa Monica beach. Bianca knows too much about Graham, who lured her to Hollywood with promises of stardom in 1920 when she was 15-year-old Blanche Tucker living in Boynton, Okla., but then sold her to a pimp from whom she later escaped. Despite the plot points of con men preying on young women, sexual abuse, ruthless mobsters, and drugs, the danger is as nonmenacing as that in Bianca’s Perils of Pauline–esque flicks. All that’s missing from this melodrama is a mustache-twirling villain. Nevertheless, Casey’s portrait of how stars were born and kept their status during Hollywood’s silent era will intrigue film buffs. (Nov.)