Thursday, July 11, 2019

Murder at the Palace

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The Palace Theater is the home of classic movie in San Francisco. Nora Paige is hired as the interim manager in Murder at the Palace by Margaret Dumas. Fleeing from the paparazzi after a messy divorce from her movie star husband, Nora is looking for a quiet place to recover.

Unfortunately the Palace is not that place. On her first day she discovers a body in the icemaker in the basement of the building. Then she encounters the theater's ghost - a young usherette in her uniform who died in a fall from the balcony 80 years ago. Trixie is thrilled that Nora can see her and Nora is sure she is hallucinating after being hit on the head by a light fixture.

The Palace is staffed by a grouchy projectionist, a 90-year-old movie fan and several Millennial. They are quirky bunch, but Nora soon wins them over. When she learns the former manager died in a fall, Nora decides to delve deeper. She begins by checking the theater's books and noticing income doesn't match the outlay. As the tale of the former manager Kate's death unravels, Nora believes she was murdered, not killed in accidental fall. And where is all the money coming from? There are hardly more than 25 people in the theater at one time.

Digging deeper leads Nora into the uncharted territory of legal marijuana, money laundering and
reformed South American cartel members. Throughout her investigation, Nora delights in the movies being shown at the Palace such as Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, The Awful Truth, How to Marry a Millionaire and many others. The author peppers the story with quotes from the classics and it is fun for the reader to try to figure out where they came from.

Murder at the Palace is the first in a new series by Margaret Dumas. Peronally I hope there are more because classic movies are some of my favorites.

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