Lacey Smithsonian wants to be a serious journalist, but she is stuck writing a fashion column for a third rate newspaper in Washington D.C. When she learns that a new fashion museum will soon open in D.C. she decides to cover the story. The museum is being financially supported by legandary designer Hugh Bently, and when Bently spots Lacey wearing some of his clothing, he invites her to lunch. While talking to Hugh, Lacey learns of a seamstress in one of Hugh's factories who disapppeared during World War II and was never found. After a little digging Lacey learns that he late aunt had been close friends with the missing girl, and the girl may have been having an affair with Hugh himself. As Lacey continues to investigate the case she discovers ties between this sixty year old unsolved mystery, the recent disappearence of an intern with ambitions of becoming the next Bently spokesmodel, and the recent robbery of a Bently boutique. Lacey uncovers a sixty year old web of lies, greed, and murder.
This report prepared by fran laniado
Signet, August 2004, 5.99, 336 pp.
Lacey Smithsonian Chase's fashion column for the Eye Street Observer has more to do with crime than fashion. She is at the capital building covering a $40 million dollar appropriation to the National Building Museum but the committee members do not how that item got into the bill that was passed. While observing the proceedings, Lacey notices that Washington Staffer Esme Fairchild who is always around in a high profile manner surprisingly is nowhere in sight.
Lacey cannot get Esme off her mind and as the days go by, the police start to believe she is dead. Esme serves as liaison between fashion designer Hugh Bentley and the committee who wanted to revoke the museum findings. Coincidentally, Lacey wore a premier design from Bentley's first collection. He offers her more money to sell her the suit. She does not give in to his demand because her great aunt believed that he was responsible for the disappearance of factory girl Gloria Adams during WWII who was having an affair with him. Lacey, who wants off the fashion beat decides to investigate Esme and Gloria's disappearance.
Ellen Byerrum is a very talented writer with an offbeat sense of humor and talent for creating quirky and eccentric characters that will have readers laughing at their antics. There are some very good fashion tips spread throughout DESIGNER KNOCKOFF. This is a great beach read because it is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the water.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner