Death Above the Line
A California Zephyr Mystery
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Jill McLeod is playing her real-life role as a Zephyrette in front of movie cameras after a director proclaims she's "perfect for the part" in his film noir. Now she finds herself before the cameras in a Niles, California, warehouse that's been turned into a movie set. Her temp job as an actress would be a lark if it weren't for the dark emotions and conflicts swirling around the cast and crew. Some have secrets they'd rather not share, and antipathy toward a visiting studio executive who enjoys wielding his power. Someone winds up dead, and once again Jill is investigating a murder. Can she discover the murderer in a new and unfamiliar milieu before the real-life villain catches up with her? "Above the line" is a movie-business term referring to those responsible for creative contributions to a film--director, producer, scriptwriter, and leading actors. On a movie budget, those costs were listed above a line, with all others below it. Jill and the reader learn the meanings of this and many more pieces of show-biz jargon. The familiar phrase "casting couch" is one still familiar today, and it rears its ugly head here in 1953, long before #MeToo. More plot elements of the 1950s include the blacklist, homophobia, hobos riding the rails, and the Monuments Men recovering art stolen by the Nazis.
Perseverance Press, 9781564746184, 224pp.
Publication Date: September 9, 2020