Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Book Review: Idle Gossip by Renee Patrick (Lillian Frost and Edith Head Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters, plot, old Hollywood setting
Cons: I won’t be gossiping about any cons
The Bottom Line:
Gossip columnist
Caught up in a murder case
Fun historic read

Can Lillian and Edith Find the Deadly Truth in Some Gossip?

It’s always a pleasure to take a trip back in time with authors Renee Patrick (a pen name for a husband and wife duo).  Their Lillian Frost and Edith Head mysteries are always fun, and Idle Gossip, the fifth in the series, is no exception.

If you’ve missed the series, it takes us to the Hollywood of the past, this time in 1940.  The stories are told from the point of view of Lillian Frost, a New York transplant who has landed a job as social secretary for Addison Rice, a rich inventor who is obsessed with the movies.  She’s also become friends with Edith Head, the head of Paramount’s wardrobe department.  Since this is a mystery series, the duo keep finding themselves involved in murders.

As this book opens, Lillian and Edith have been summoned to the office of famed gossip columnist Lorna Whitcomb.  Her “leg man,” someone who goes out and gathers the gossip for her column, is the police’s prime suspect in the death of Glenn Hoyle, one of his sources.  But Sam Simcoe says he is innocent and only found Glenn’s body.

He also found a list with three names on it in Glenn’s trashcan.  The names on the list are a young and popular starlet, a producer of dubious intent, and a has been director of the silent era. 

Lorna all but blackmails Lillian and Edith into helping clear Sam’s name of the crime.  The pair intend to do as little as possible, but they keep getting drawn further into the case.  Does one of the names found in Glenn’s apartment hold the key to unraveling the murder?

This series always makes me realize how little I know about older movies.  Yes, I do recognize some of the real people who wander in and out of the pages of the book, but I’m sure there are others I don’t.  However, there is a part of me that doesn’t mind since it makes the lines between reality and fiction that much blurrier.

The plot is strong.  The more Lillian and Edith investigate, the more they are pulled in by the secrets that they are uncovering.  The ending surprised me, but the clues that they’d picked up on made perfect sense once they’d explained them.

As always, the characters are strong.  That’s another thing that makes is hard to tell the real people from the fictional people that populate these pages.  There are a couple of developments in Lillian’s life that are especially intriguing, and I can’t wait to see what happens with them in the next book.

If you enjoy a good mystery, you’ll enjoy this series.  But if you are a fan of old Hollywood, Idle Gossip is especially for you.

Enjoy more mysteries in the Lillian Frost and Edith Head series.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. I will have to check this series out…it’s sounds like something I would love.

  2. As soon as I saw the name Edith Head I was pretty much sold so as long as you didn't give this a 1 star rating I was going to be looking for this one! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one and I'm adding this to my TBR!

  3. Love your con summary!!

    Thank you for sharing this with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


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