Thursday, February 04, 2021

Reach for The Sharpest Needle

Tuesday was the official U.S. publication day for The Sharpest Needle, the fourth Lillian Frost and Edith Head mystery that I wrote with Rosemarie under our pen name of Renee Patrick. It’s set in 1939. The world is about to plunge into war, Orson Welles has recently arrived in Hollywood, and Lillian and Edith are asked by Marion Davies to get to the bottom of some poison pen letters she’s received. (Did you watch Mank? Then you’ll want to read this book. Did you not watch Mank? Then you’ll definitely want to read this book.)

I don’t want to appear immodest and big up Needle myself. Instead, I’ll tell you that Publishers Weekly called it “a tailor-made treat for film buffs” while Historical Novel Review said “the mystery has plenty of tantalizing sidetracks … carefully stitched and neatly sewn together.”

Rosemarie and I were interviewed by Library Journal.

Everything Zoomer has the book in terrific company as one of its recommended February reads.

Over at CrimeReads, I have a piece detailing a fascinating footnote unearthed in our research: the history of Welles’s unmade adaptation of the Nicholas Blake novel The Smiler with the Knife. He’s planning the film—about a fascist coup in the United States spearheaded by a flashy playboy businessman, if you can imagine such a thing—at the time The Sharpest Needle is set. Full of surprise cameos and an explanation of how the proposed project ended up shaping Citizen Kane. Go on, give it a read.