Being a celebrity brings a person a lot of fame, power, and prestige. Some people would do just about anything to be famous. That’s why there are a lot of mystery novels set in Hollywood and the film industry. Auditions can be cutthroat, literally. And let’s not ask too many questions about who is bankrolling the picture. Here are 8 great film industry mysteries that turn the spotlights on crime.
(Note: Much like the film business, diverse film industry mysteries are much, much harder to find.)
It's 1951, and Gil "Hop" Hopkins is a Hollywood publicist with a rising career. But he's still haunted by a two-year-old missing person case involving a beautiful starlet. In 1949, Jean Spangler kissed her daughter goodnight and headed off to a night shoot. Gil was one of the last people to see Jean the night she disappeared, and as old guilt drives him to begin searching deeper for answers, he'll uncover a less-shiny side of Tinseltown.
Loren D. Estleman
Mild-mannered UCLA film archivist Valentino hits the jackpot when he buys a crumbling movie theater and discovers a long-lost, uncut print of the Erich von Stroheim classic Greed. But he also finds a skeleton in the basement. Now Valentino has three days to identify the victim and solve the case before the police take his precious film as evidence and ruin his treasure.
Dayna Anderson is an actress who is semi-famous and super-broke. So she's excited for the reward money she's going to receive for giving the police tips about a hit-and-run she witnessed. But Dana realizes she doesn't just want the cash, she wants justice for the victim. So she slips into the role of detective, and when someone makes an attempt on her life, Dana knows she's playing the part to perfection.
When Kelly Michelle Lund was 17, she shot and killed an Oscar-winning director at his home, but no one knows why. After 25 years, she was released from prison. But five years later, someone kills her film legend father-in-law, and Kelly is once again the main suspect. Is Kelly really guilty of either crime? Or is she guilty of both?
Howard Michael Gould
Alastair Pinch is a once-respected actor turned network television courtroom judge and a belligerent alcoholic–but is he a murderer? That's what he hires former LAPD detective Charlie Waldo to figure out. Alastair's wife has been murdered, but he can't remember anything about that night. Charlie's search will turn up a lot of secrets and evidence, and not of all of it points to Alastair's innocence.
A comedic Hollywood crime classic! Chili Palmer is a Florida loan shark who chases a deadbeat client to Hollywood. Once Chili gets there, he's starstruck and decides he wants to play moviemaker. He decides to help a Hollywood director deep in debt make back the money he owes by helping him produce a new film. But in Hollywood, it's hard to tell if people are your real friends or are acting, and Chili will soon find himself being set up.
Liv Hendricks was a famous teenage actress, but she walked away after her sister disappeared from a Hollywood party where Liz was also almost a victim. Broke and unemployed many years later, Liz returns to the screen, playing a real detective on a crowdfunded web series. But as the popularity of the series grows, so does the danger, and Liz finds herself searching for someone who wants to finish what they started years before.
Rick Barron is a Beverly Hills detective during the Golden Age of film, who finds himself working security detail at a Hollywood studio after a demotion from his captain. Dubbed “the Prince of Beverly Hills” by gossip columnists for his friendship with the stars on the lot, Rick finds himself putting his detective skills to use after he discovers a cover-up involving murder and blackmail.
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Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.