For fans of Ruta Septys and Monica Hesse comes a lush historical mystery set in post-World War II America against the flashy backdrop of Hollywood's film studios about a shocking murder that threatens to unearth the ghosts of a young German immigrant's past.
Hollywood, 1946. The war is over, and eighteen-year-old Clara Berg spends her days shelving reels as a vault girl at Silver Pacific Studios, with all her dreams pinned on getting a break in film editing. That and a real date with handsome yet unpredictable screenwriter Gil. But when she returns a reel of film to storage one night, Clara stumbles across the lifeless body of a woman in Vault 5. The costume, the makeup, the ash-blond hair are unmistakable--it has to be Babe Bannon, A-list star. And it looks like murder.
Suddenly Clara's world is in free-fall, her future in movies upended--not to mention that her refugee parents are planning to return to Germany and don't want her to set foot on the studio lot again. As the Silver Blonde murder ignites Tinseltown, rumors and accusations swirl. The studio wants a quick solve, but the facts of the case keep shifting. Nothing is what it seems—not even the victim.
Clara finds herself drawn, inevitably, to the murder investigation, and the dark side of Hollywood. But how far is she willing to go to find the truth?
A heart-wrenchingly nostalgic vision of post-WWII Hollywood shimmers at the core of this uneven murder mystery from Ross (Belle Epoque). In a single busy day in 1946, 18-year-old Clara Berg is promoted to apprentice film editor at Silver Pacific Studios, discovers a murdered woman in the studio's film archive vaults, and learns that her own parents non-Jewish political refugees who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 are planning to return home and expect her to go, too. In the days that follow, Clara begins her own investigation of the murder with the help of her love interest, Jewish, French-Canadian Gil, a suave screenwriter with a complicated past. Clara's dismissive attitude toward nearly all of the novel's other female characters her mother, her former boss, and the young women staffing the studio's accounting department strikes a sour note, and an abundance of red herrings and coincidences undercut the cinematic showbiz sparkle. Even so, the story spotlights an intriguing era of filmmaking with a behind-the-scenes peek at movie studio life that entertains. Ages 14 up. \n