A Star Is Dead

Severn House. (Angela Richman, Death Investigator, Bk. 4). Apr. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780727890160. $28.99. M
Angela Richman wishes she hadn’t been in the audience when Jessica Gray made her final appearance in St. Louis, MO. Jessica, a movie star in the 1960s, is now an elderly diva with a stand-up show in which she made fun of three homeless women. Angela, a death investigator in the nearby town of Chouteau Forest, was supporting her friend, Mario Garcia, a local hair stylist hired to work on the show. Angela witnesses Jessica’s cruel treatment of her staff before the star collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Despite her pneumonia, Jessica insists on checking out, but her trip to the airport is her final ride. Angela watches in horror via Mario’s phone video as the diva collapses and dies of poisoning. After Mario is arrested for murder, Angela pulls strings to keep in the loop so she can search for the killer before Jessica’s team leaves town. The complex case includes homelessness, bigotry, and capital punishment.
VERDICT The fourth in the series (after Ice Blonde) is an intriguing mystery featuring a character in the little-known job of death investigator. Fans of forensic mysteries will overlook the sleuth’s questionable actions in this dramatic story. [See Prepub Alert, 9/23/19.]
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