Last Night at the Hollywood Canteen

Sourcebooks Landmark. Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781728252254. pap. $16.99. M
When murder-mystery playwright Annie Laurence moves to Hollywood from NYC in 1943 to start a new life, she begins hobnobbing with stars like Bette Davis at the Hollywood Canteen, a real-life club that offered food, dancing, and entertainment to servicemen during World War II. The mystery begins when harsh film critic Fiona Farris is found dead at the Canteen, after Annie’s been integrated into Fiona’s group of industry friends. James’s latest (after The Woman with Two Shadows) then starts reading like a murder-mystery dinner script with a cast of unique and witty characters who all quickly become suspects. Annie’s character comes off a little dull, and a little too much attention is given to her ex-lovers and failed relationships, but the humor and Hollywood absurdity keep the story suspenseful without it getting too dark.
VERDICT An atmospheric Hollywood whodunit for fans of Kate Alcott and Marie Benedict. Purchase where historical mysteries are popular.
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