Pocket, Oct 2003, 6.99, 368 pp.
World War II is over, the men are home and life returns to normal or what passes for normalcy in Hollywood. Screenwriter Lauren Atwell is driving home when she stops to see if she can help a person in a car that seem to have some trouble. She looks in the vehicle, but the next thing she knows she awakens in the hospital. The doctor and the police tell her that she was found in an alley.
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Lauren knows she was drugged not drunk as the police believe but she has no proof so she lets the matter drop. A few days after the incident a man comes to her with pictures of her and an unknown man in lewd positions. The blackmailer wants money, which Lauren is not prepared to fork over until she finds out her married friend is also being blackmailed as is her estranged husband's girlfriend. Determined to put an end to the blackmailing, Lauren hires PI Peter Winslow to find out who is running the ring. Every time they think they get close, a dead body turns up. They realize that someone is not hesitant about murdering anyone who gets in the way.
The heroine of STAR STRUCK DEAD is a spunky independent woman who doesn't need a man to define her identity, an oddity in the late 1940's. Actual stars that lived in that era make cameo appearances adding authenticity to the setting. The plot is fast-paced with plenty of action and a lot of sizzle between the heroine and the private invesigator. Sheila York has started a good amateur sleuth series and this reviewer will be interested to see the protagonist in future novels.