Tue
May 9 2017 9:30am

First Look: Amanda Quick’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much (May 9, 2017)

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Amanda Quick
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Berkley / May 9, 2017 / $24.00 hardcover, $12.99 digital

I was in for quite a surprise when I began Amanda Quick’s new novel, The Girl Who Knew Too Much. I settle in for a nice, comforting read about an eccentric spinster who befuddles the enigmatic hero as they fall in love while solving a mystery in 19th century England. Instead, I found myself in Southern California in the 1930s reading an Amanda Quick version of L.A. Confidential. Imagine my surprise! But then imagine my delight as I found myself engrossed with the setting.

Irene Glasson is a new reporter at a third-rate gossip paper on the trail of a hot story involving Hollywood’s newest rising star, Nick Tremayne and his murdered ex-lover. Irene actually found the body in the swimming pool at the Burning Cove Hotel, a getaway for the stars just south of LA.

The Burning Cove Hotel crowned a gently rising hillside above the rocky cliffs. At the foot of the cliffs, splashing waves churned up white froth on a pristine beach. The main building and the villas were all constructed in a fantasy version of what they called the Spanish colonial revival style of architecture. From what she had seen, the entire town – houses, hotels, shops, even the post office and the gas stations – had been built according to the same set of design rules. White stucco walls, red tile roofs, charming, shaded courtyards, and covered walkways were everywhere.

Burning Cove was a Hollywood movie set of a town, she thought. And just like a movie, you never really knew what was going on behind the scenes.

She decided that she hated the place.

The hotel is owned by Oliver Ward, a famous magician who was forced to retire when something went horribly wrong onstage, leaving him severely wounded. He is not too thrilled to have a gossip columnist poking her nose into his exclusive clientele’s exclusive business, but they join forces to solve the mystery.

Hollywood’s glamour and its people’s stories - both exciting and tragic - are central to the plot and do much to add to the atmosphere. Here Irene and Oliver discuss the case of future murder victim Daisy Jennings.

“By any chance, do you know Miss Jennings?”

“I know her,” he said. “She’s all right but she’s wasting her life chasing a dream.”

“She wants to be an actress?”

“Daisy Jennings spends her nights at the Paradise Club and sometimes in the lounge at my hotel because she hopes that if she sleeps with the right person, she’ll finally get that screen test, the one that will transform her into a movie star.”

“That’s so sad.”

“She’s hardly alone. Hollywood is filled with dreamers like her. Some of them find their way to Burning Cove because the stars and directors come here.”

Despite Irene’s initial dislike of Burning Cove and its superficiality, she warms up to it just as she warms up to Oliver. Even a jaded east coast villain who followed Irene to California cannot help but be seduced by the excitement that is Hollywood in the 1930s.

He’d settled in at the Beverley Hills Hotel. The hotel, with its Sunset Boulevard address, acres of groomed gardens, and palm trees, was a California dream made real.

Attractive, exciting people, including movie stars, populated the bar and reclined around the pool reading celebrity obsessed papers like Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Two days ago he’d spotted Carole Lombard and yesterday afternoon he was sure he’d seen Fred Astaire.

So, while The Girl Who Knew Too Much was not at all what I was expecting when I began reading it, Amanda Quick did such a nice job of immersing me into her setting and time that I, too, was happily seduced.

This looks to be the first book in a new series, and while I hope Quick doesn’t forever abandon 19th century England, I am happy to explore this fascinating new setting with her.

***

Learn more about or order a copy of The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick, available now:

Buy at Amazon

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H&H Editor Picks:

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
This sounds like an entertaining read. Thanks for the review.
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