Category Archives: Historical Mystery

Print the Legend by Craig McDonald

printReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

On thing readers have to love about McDonald’s books is that every one of them is a surprise. Readers just have no way of knowing where McDonald is going to take them until they have turned the very last page. And Print the Legend is no exception. What on the surface is another fictional account of Hemingway’s delusional final days and his power hungry fourth wife Mary, is also an accurate account of the extreme lengths J. Edgar Hoover went to while compiling dossiers on American writers. But more than either of these stories, Print the Legend is a highly involved book with twisted plot lines about what extremes people are willing to go to in order to get the big scoop on our celebrities, to advance their own careers without regard to the reputations left sullied in their path and the public’s pathological desire to know even the most sordid details of someone’s life.

Hollywood Buzz by Margit Liesche

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Women’s contributions during the wartime years have always been overshadowed by the men’s, especially those brave heroes who risked their lives for others. A story about Hollywood’s contribution to World War II and the women who were the Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASP, is well overdue. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ accomplishes this while basing the story on many actual historical people and events.

Pucci Lewis is asked by the legendary Jackie Cochran to advise a Hollywood documentary about the true women pilots who are contributing to the war effort while also discretely investigating the plane crash of a fellow WASP pilot. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ immediately transports you back to the 1940s in Hollywood with the lifestyle, the clothes, the celebrities, the threats of attacks by the Japanese, smuggling, drug usage, the problems of being Hungarian, Italian, or Japanese, and especially espionage.

This is a novel that is easy to immediately to relate to the celebrity and the normal people characters. With many of the legendary celebrities like Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Bela Lugosi, Clark Gable, and references to “Gone with the Wind” the story has the feeling of being more realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the problems that Bela Lugosi was having at this time.

Another aspect that added to the realism was the problems of the writers, producers, and directors with any production. Most people outside the movie industry do not realize that although the business looks glamorous, much of the day-to-day processes are hard work, long hours, and dealing effectively with difficult people.

My one criticism of this book is that it does rely a little on the previous book, LIPSTICK AND LIES. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ does work as a standalone book, but really is easier to understand after reading the first book.

The book causes constant wondering about who is responsible for sabotaging the aircraft and also how go change the image of Hollywood’s view of women to the actual lives of being a WASP. The characters, especially Jackie Cochran and Bela Lugosi, were more than real people, they had a purpose and a mission for the betterment of others. Their commitment to helping others is the true realism in this delightful book.

Margit Liesche comes from a family of Hungarian refugees who were a missionary family while serving in China. She was born in Ohio and currently lives in California.