Quercus Books 9th July 2020
Delia Maxwell is an international singing sensation, an icon of 1950s glamour who is still riding high on the new 60s scene. Lily Brooks has watched Delia all her life, studying her music and on-stage mannerisms. Now she has a dream job as Delia’s assistant – but is there more to her attachment that the admiration of a fan? Private investigator Frank is beginning to wonder.
As Lily steps into Delia’s spotlight, and Delia encourages her ambitious protegee, Frank’s suspicions of Lily’s ulterior motives increase. But are his own feelings clouding his judgement?
The truth is something far darker: the shocking result of years of pain and rage, rooted in Europe’s darkest hour. If Delia thought she had put her past behind her, she had better start watching her back.
A compelling story set in the glamourous world of show business in post war London. Told from multiple points of view, we hear from ex army intelligence turned private investigator Frank in the first person, Delia and the other characters accounts are told in the third person. The book started with Frank and his voice felt original and drew me into the story. That said I felt this book started fairly slowly, but picked up pace about 100 pages in, when I found myself gripped by the storyline and wanting to read on to find out more.
Delia is a successful singer, her relationship with Lily quickly arouses suspicion in those close to her, Frank is asked to do some digging. What follows is a combination of romance, mystery and historical fiction which together combined to make a strong story. The mystery I didn’t work out but it is no spoiler to indicate it related to Delia’s history. The historical aspect I liked a lot and the glamour of Delia’s life. Some more seedy aspects added to the plot and called to mind more recent #metoo accounts.
Some film references were woven in but I have to admit, some passed me by (not all), I am no film buff but I imagine this will hold extra appeal to those film fans among you. Overall a very decent read which publishes today.
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About the Author
V.B Grey is the pseudonym of the acclaimed television screenwriter and crime novelist Isabelle Grey. A former arts journalist and feature writer, she has written for film, radio and televison, contributing to Jimmy McGovern’s award winning BBC series Accused. She is the author of two novels of psychological suspense and four books in a contemporary crime series under her own name.
On her pseudonym and change in creative direction, Isabelle says, ‘I wanted to escape the bodies piling up around me in my television dramas and novels, and explore new ways to bring my love of film and television into my fiction. I’ve always been in awe of 1940s and 1950s noir thrillers and ‘women’s pictures’, so turned to them, and to the stars who played in them, to inspire my new novel. It’s been both exhilarating and rewarding to spend time in such a complex and glamourous world.’
Isabelle grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.