Silent Murders (Roaring Twenties, Book 2) Review
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In her debut novel, The Impersonator, author and historian Mary Miley mixed mystery with history for an enchanting Roaring Twenties whodunit. Now, with the follow-up, Silent Murders, she sends her intrepid heroine off to Hollywood to give readers an inside look at the silent film era.

The story picks up shortly after former vaudeville star Leah Randall posed as a missing heiress in The Impersonator. Now going by the name Jessie Beckett, she’s settled in Hollywood, where she’s training to be a script girl at Pickford-Fairbanks Studio.

When legendary director Bruno Heilmann invites her to a party at his home, Jessie is thrilled—and the night gets even better when she meets Esther, a member of the catering staff who once knew Jessie’s late mother. But the excitement of the evening quickly wears off after both Heilmann and Esther are murdered. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Douglas Fairbanks himself asks Jessie to help with the investigation.

With her second Roaring Twenties Mystery, Miley once again skillfully depicts this vibrant time period. Jessie’s era is one of trains, telegraphs, and jazz music—and Miley’s vivid descriptions are sure to transport readers back in time. Meanwhile, the change of venue gives the story an even more intriguing set-up—especially for film buffs.

Jessie’s Hollywood is a fascinating place, where classic silent film stars throw fabulous parties in their glamorous homes. And the setting is made even more mesmerizing by Jessie’s interaction with real Hollywood figures—from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to Gary Cooper and Myrna Loy. Through these characters, Miley takes readers behind the scenes of the world of silent film, offering a different perspective on the industry, the filmmaking process, and ground-breaking ideas like the addition of color and sound motion pictures. And though the name-dropping and historical tidbits can, at times, feel a little too obvious and almost showy (like the frequent references to the big, gaudy Hollywoodland sign, which was originally supposed to be temporary), Miley uses them to make the town, its stars, and its history come to life on the page.

The story, on the other hand, isn’t quite as solid as the setting. Parts of it are solved quite early on, with amateur assumptions simply accepted as fact. And the rest is rather simple and straightforward, making it an intriguing but not exactly inspired mystery.

With her second book in the series, Miley mixes old characters and new ones, fact and fiction to tell a captivating story of murder and movies. Whether you’re a movie buff or an armchair historian, you’ll enjoy the mix of imagination and Hollywood history in this time-traveling whodunit.

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