The Silver Blonde

Delacorte. Jul. 2021. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385741484.
Gr 10 Up–A murder mystery grips the Hollywood community and 18-year-old Clara, who finds the victim’s body while working as a vault girl, is caught right in the middle of it. This is the 1940s and World War II has just ended. So much of Clara’s life is still connected to Germany, including her parents who want to return. But the draw of working at the movie studios has Clara firmly planted in California. The murder pushes her into the darker, seedier side when all she was looking for was upward mobility. The mood of the story is the novel’s greatest strength—the classic noirlike atmosphere will immerse readers in this period piece about Old Hollywood. The rich setting and central mystery of a Hollywood glamour girl found murdered will draw in fans of the genre. Pairing the postwar sentiments with the viciousness of Hitler’s reign adds nuance and makes the suspected villains’ identities that much more despicable. Less plot driven than thrillers by Karen McManus or Holly Jackson, this layered mystery is more akin to Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and I How I Lied.
VERDICT Very similar to the author’s debut, Belle Epoque, this historical mystery will be a good purchase where mysteries circulate well.

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