Perfect Setting For Murder
Catherine Carney Richman, author
In this classic psychological thriller set in Hollywood, struggling actress Jenna Howland's dream finally comes true—she lands a sought-after role of a lifetime, "Raven," in a prime-time show. But it soon dissolves into a nightmare when she learns that the two young and vibrant actresses who played the part before her both died unexpectedly. The first was found dead of an asthma attack, and the other was found dead from an overdose in her dressing room. Is this role the Hope Diamond of parts, or is it something more ominous? Jenna convinces Detective Philip Westmore that the medical examiner's conclusion that the deaths were accidental is wrong. Brand new to the precinct, Philip has to cut through the blue line and overrule the shoddy work of his predecessors to get at the truth. Hollywood has-been, co-star Freeda Brown, a beautiful actress making a comeback, becomes a suspect when she is linked to the suspicious deaths. Freeda has auditioned for the lead role of Raven herself, but each time, she has been beaten out and relegated to a lesser role, thus preventing her from starring together with her obsession, heartthrob Jake Cottington, who dated each of the slain actresses and is now dating Jenna. But Jake comes under suspicion too, as he is having trouble reverting from his character, who, in the show, attempts to murder Raven. Is he carrying his role into his real life? Aside from being Jake's mere friend with benefits, Freeda has more troubles and hires an attorney, Ken Berman, to sue the producer of the show, Hugh Blackman, for sexual harassment. When it is unearthed that Hugh had also sexually harassed the slain actresses, and both of them planned to sue him before they died, the finger points to him. He'd be destroyed over these accusations, as would the lifestyle of his young wife, ex-model and actress, Charla, who clawed her way up from a trailer park and caught one of the most successful men in Hollywood. But that theory soon fizzles when Hugh is found brutally murdered by an attacker that his wife, Charla, shoots in self-defense — Freeda Brown. The case appears open and shut against Freeda, except she claims she can't remember a thing. Her mother, Candace Hyatt, a business partner of Hugh Blackman, does all she can to avert guilt away from her only daughter. Hiring her own PI, crusty Stu Bernstein from Brooklyn, who uses very unconventional investigative methods. Philip is applauded for handing the tidy case over to the DA, until Stu, through his unorthodox means, assists Phillip in uncovering one shocking truth after another. Everyone at this point becomes a suspect when the carefully planned murder falls apart like a house of cards.