Title: A Killing in Costumes (A Hollywood Treasures Mystery #1)
Author: Zac Bissonnette
Published on: 9 August 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A Killing in Costumes is the first book in Zac Bissonnette’s Hollywood Treasures Mystery series.
Jay Allan and Cindy Cooper were soap opera stars in the late ’90s, a wholesome young husband-and-wife duo who combined musical talent with humor and charisma. Their career crashed when they came out as gay and got divorced. Jay moved to Vegas while Cindy pursued a career as financial advisor. Two decades later, they open a movie memorabilia store named Hooray for Hollywood in Palm Springs.
Cindy’s wife Esther succumbed to cancer before the store could open. Jay is the store’s business partner and lives with Cindy. When the duo receive an interesting offer from a financial advisor of an actress who was popular in the ’50s and disappeared from the silver screen later, they feel like Lady Luck is shining upon them.
They also get a call from vice president of a well-known mega-auction house named Cypress. They first meet with Yana Tosh (the ninety-year-old actress who wants to sell her costumes) and then visit Dylan, the vice president of Cypress. He gives them a deal – tell Yana to choose his company over theirs and in return, he will send some business their way.
Jay and Cindy are not happy with this offer. But Dylan is too tired to discuss so he tells them to meet him some other time. But that never happens… because Dylan is found dead in his room a couple of hours later.
Jay and Cindy soon find themselves in the midst of a murder investigation. As it is, their store is not doing all that good. And bad publicity might stop the client inflow. The local police are investigating, all right. But they are doing it at their own sweet time. At least, Jay and Cindy think so. So they decide to don their detective hats and solve the case. The game is afoot!
What a fantabulous start to a brand new cozy mystery series. I absolutely loved every bit of this book. Be it the characters, the setting, the storytelling or the mystery, consider me VERY MUCH IMPRESSED! Of late, I have become a TV series and movie buff. I am not a collector of any sort but I admit I have tried to look like a Vulcan – the eyebrow thing, you know. I believe I look better as a Vulcan than a human being. 😉
The story begins with Cindy seeing the accounts in red. Oopsie doo, that’s not good for business. And they certainly do not want any kind of bad publicity. But it so happens that Jay and Cindy finds themselves in the middle of a murder investigation – and they are suspects. Well, Detective Simon Fletcher is a sweet guy but he has to consider the fact that Jay and Cindy were probably the last ones to see Dylan alive.
Cindy and Jay wonder why Yana’s financial advisor is overly enthusiastic and eager to sell her costumes. Meanwhile, Yana Tosh’s son is not happy that his mother is selling away her costumes. He wants to open a museum – post Yana’s death – so that people will always remember her.
As the story proceeds, we see Jay and Cindy come up with a list of suspects. Dylan’s secretary makes it to the list too. After all, she lied to the police saying she heard Jay and Cindy fighting with Dylan in the hotel room – which isn’t true.
Apart from the murder mystery, we readers are given a glimpse of Jay and Cindy’s lives as soap opera stars. Cindy is still grieving the loss of Esther (Cindy’s wife). Though Jay tries to talk to her about it, she walls up, telling him she doesn’t want to. It is quite clear that Jay and Cindy still love each other (not in a sexual way) – it was so sweet to see them support each other through tough times.
Then there is Mary – the duo’s secretary and now works at the store. Yana Tosh was one interesting character. She’s sweet when she wants and throws tantrums when in a mood – typical diva behavior, I suppose.
The mystery kept me guessing till the end. A dash of romance made the story charming. Don’t get me started on all the movie and TV references – along with the props used in those sets. Gosh! I was wondering why there isn’t a Star Trek reference and boom! Something about Vulcan jewelry. 😀 Made this Trekkie very happy!
The identity of the murderer and the reason for killing Dylan was totally unexpected and shocking. Gosh! I never thought they were capable of killing someone.
I absolutely adored the writing. The character portrayal was excellent. Setting – Hollywood worthy!
If you are looking for a Hollywood-themed entertaining cozy mystery, you might want to give A Killing in Costumes by Zac Bissonnette a try. Believe me, you will love it to Vegas and back!
I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.