Death was in the Blood
by Linda L. Richards
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827168
Date: 13 June 2013
Wealthy debutante Flora Woodruff wants a place on the 1932 Olympic equestrian team, but someone is determined to stop her. Mysterious notes threaten her and her horse. Her fiancÚ tries to hire Dex Theroux, detective extraordinaire, to keep the willful Flora safe. Then someone steals the horse.
Kitty Pangborn, once a debutante from a wealthy family, works as a secretary to a detective in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Her father lost his money in the Crash of '29 and committed suicide. Times are tough for everyone, but Dex Theroux, her boss, would rather drink with his buddy Mustard than work, especially for this particular client. Kitty, frustrated when he keeps a wealthy potential client waiting, interviews the man and agrees to take the case on behalf of Dex.
When she tells Dex, he's angry. He dislikes the client's father and refuses to deal with the son. When Kitty waves a substantial retainer the man paid at Dex, he grudgingly relents, but presses Kitty into service. He assigns her to keep tabs on the headstrong Flora.
Suspects include: another debutante rider, the Mob, Flora's stepmother, a member of the Olympic equestrian team, and enemies of Flora's father. Kitty struggles to keep tabs on Flora, the horse, and still find time to chase clues as well as learning about the suspects. Rubbing shoulders with the upper class, makes Kitty aware how far she has fallen.
She loves working with Dex, but the low pay makes her worry about the future. She wants a promotion to detective, but that goes against the macho views of Dex and clients. Dex, Mustard, and Kitty appeared in Richards' earlier novels, Death Was the Other Woman and Death Was in the Picture.
Linda Richards' novels resemble in a number of ways Alice Duncan's Angel series (for example, Fallen Angels). Both write noir detective series with a feisty heroine set in Los Angeles. Richards focuses on the early 1930s while Duncan uses the 1920s. Both lovingly recreate those periods and the eras of the noir detectives. Cozy fans can now enjoy both series.