This book is by Amanda Quick, which is a nom de plume for Jayne Ann Krentz. It's what she writes her historical romances under. Krentz/Quick has written a donkey load of books (like 50+) and this was my first one. I think. She looked familiar on the back cover but she also has the same 'author' hairstyle and and pose as a lot of other authors.
Title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Author: Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz)
Page Number: 368 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books, part of Penguin Random House
Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…
When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.
Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…
With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…
This is the first book in a new series, set in a California town during the 1920s. I've read this one and the second one. I'll be 1000% honest, I picked up the book because of the gorgeous cover and then read the blurb and thought it was do-able. I'm a sucker for beautiful covers. I'm also on a small 1920s-era/1930s-era mystery kick, but I haven't really found anything to scratch that itch too much. It's probably an odd sub-sub genre to dip my toe in without any research.
The book begins on the east coast with a murder and an escape. The setting then changes to Burning Cove, California. I think I can talk more about this next part because it's mentioned in the blurb. A reporter, named Irene Glasson, arranges to meet an up-and-coming actress at the Burning Cove Hotel. The Hotel is a security dream for movie starts and the rich, meaning the meeting has to be done secretly. Glasson arrives to find the actress at the bottom of the hotel pool, murdered.
Irene Glasson works at a gossip magazine and is looking for a big scoop about the actor, Nick Tremayne. Tremayne is another rising star in Hollywood and his image is carefully maintained by his assistant and agent. This would help Glasson's career tremendously (she wishes to do more hard-hitting journalism) so she decides to stay in the area to try and solve the murder and find out how Tremayne connects.
The problem is that Tremayne is staying at the ultra-exclusive Burning Cove Hotel, owned by Oliver Ward. Ward is an ex-magician and is cognizant of the line between solving a murder and the protection of his hotel patrons. He's also attracted to Irene Glasson, who is hiding her own secrets.
The endsheet (?) of the book is really pretty. It's a misty blue tile motif. The actual cover is fairly simple (it's off white with a red spine).
The title kept bouncing around my head because I knew there was a a movie with the same title. I've seen the movie but it was in college during a film studies class, so it might not have been nothing more than clips. It's an Italian movie and the first murder takes place on the Spanish Steps. I think we were shown parts of this to showcase film locations as something that can really add to a scene.
Back to the book, the story and mystery itself were interesting. It's my favourite from the two I've read. The writing is strangely modern but Quick has done research (evident immediately when Irene Glasson escapes using motor hotels for her road trip).
This is a solid 3 star, maybe 3.5 star book for me. It was a nice read and I enjoyed it enough to read the second book. I'm not sure how this compares to Quick's other historical books or her other genres but I found this to be written well enough (no mistakes). Plotting was decent but not anything extraordinary. The ending wrapped up neatly--no hanging threads or unanswered questions. It was entirely readable on a slow Saturday afternoon.
The characters were engaging though, the setting was nice and I think Quick picked really interesting backstories for everyone. I don't know what the oopmh that was missing to move it up to a solid 4 or 5 stars book would be. With that being said, it's gotten really positive reviews online so I think I'm slightly in the minority for wanting more.
I didn't pick up the third book because it didn't seem to match the color schemes from the first two books. It's still with a beautiful art deco type print in the background but the color scheme relies on black and gold not the orange, yellow and greens like the other two. I might pick it up from the library but I wasn't chuffed enough to buy the whole series. The third cover is pretty in its own way though, it just doesn't match which I disliked. It seemed like a mis-step from the design team.