If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know that I love books set in the Golden Age of Hollywood. So when I got the opportunity for a sneak peek at Amanda Quick’s newest mystery set in 1930’s California amidst the glamour of Hollywood movie stars, I couldn’t resist!
The Other Lady Vanishes is a murder mystery complete with a Hollywood psychic, a mental hospital, so-called doctors with so-called miraculous youthful drugs, and a young woman named Adalaide in the center of the chaos. The book opens with Adalaide escaping from a mental hospital. She then hides out in the town of Burning Cove, California. But who or what she’s hiding from, we aren’t quite sure. Enter handsome Jake Truett to complicate things even more. All in all, this was a pretty entertaining read with some surprises and, I feel, a satisfactory ending.
But here’s the thing … the beginning of The Other Lady Vanishes was pretty darn confusing for me. After reading for a few chapters, I began to wonder if this book was actually the sequel to a previous book. I wondered if it was confusing because I had missed the first act, so to speak. Early on, there were references to Adalaide’s past and what had happened to her and I felt like I was supposed to know what this meant, but I didn’t. After searching online, I couldn’t find Adalaide’s story beginning anywhere other than in this book. While Quick has written at least one other story set in Burning Cove in the 1930’s, it seemed to be a standalone novel rather than a first installment in a series. I suppose that there is meant to be a good bit of mystery in the beginning of the book because we as readers are following along with Adalaide as she tries to piece together the puzzle of the last few months of her life. But it read kind of confusing and hard to follow for me.
I also found the trio of “doctors” (Massey, Gill, and Paxton) confusing. Their relationships to each other and to Adalaide were difficult to follow. I kept forgetting who was who between them. All in all, I feel there were just too many characters thrown into the beginning and it was difficult to sort them out and keep them straight.
One of my favorite characters in the book was Madame Zolanda. I would love to read a prequel that tells her story and her journey to becoming “psychic to the stars.”
If you like mysteries and the old days of Hollywood, you should give this book a read. If you prefer pretty straight-forward reads with little mystery and complications, then you probably want to give this one a pass.
I received an advance copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.