Private investigator Poppy Harmon likes the anonymity of working behind the scenes for the hottest names in Palm Springs. But when solving a case demands dragging her old acting career out of retirement, it’s lights . . . camera . . . murder!
Cast in her first role since the 1980s, Poppy has never been more rattled or unprepared on a film set. It’s an embarrassing but necessary cover to keep an eye on client Danika Delgado, a rising starlet and social media influencer with a large following—including a dangerous stalker who won’t disappear. The leading lady’s fame is growing, and so are the threats against her life . . .
Unfortunately for Poppy, there’s more to fear than flubbed lines. When she finds Danika smothered to death in her trailer at Joshua Tree National Park, the horrifying crime stirs up memories of a man known as the Pillow Talk Killer during her time as a young actress, bringing unsolved murders from the past back into focus . . .
A trail of clues urges Poppy, hunky sidekick Matt Flowers, and the rest of the Desert Flowers Detective Agency gang on a frantic chase after Danika’s crazed #1 fan. But as co-stars and production crew members start looking equally suspicious, Poppy must expose a slew of insidious industry secrets before a murderer rolls out the red carpet for someone else . . .
Set in Palm Springs, Calif., and vicinity, Hollis's fun third Poppy Harmon mystery (after 2019's Poppy Harmon and the Hung Jury) finds the 60-something widow and retired TV star who owns the Desert Flowers Detective Agency with her two best friends looking into who's stalking Danika Delgado, a rising young actor starring in the remake of a campy 1960s beach-blanket movie. The director recognizes Poppy from her TV days and, conveniently for the investigation, recruits her for a small part in the film. When the insufferable lead is fired, Matt Cameron, the detective agency's front man, joins the cast. After Danika is smothered in her bed, Matt is nearly killed in a suspicious accident, and a reporter who was writing an expos of the movie's executive producer is drowned in his bathtub, Poppy uncovers disturbing connections to the Pillow Talk Killer of the 1980s, who was never caught. Hollis delivers all the essentials: appealing characters, an intricate plot, and a colorful setting. Cozy fans will hope Poppy and friends will be back soon.