Murder on a Silver Platter: The Story
“Arlena came running down the road, the beam of her flashlight bouncing wildly in the dark. When she turned the bend, she saw Penelope lying face down in a snow bank, soaking wet and screaming, waving a fluffy white ski cap in the air, her face inches away from that of a dead girl’s.” (Page 13)
Preferring not to be the centre of attention, Penelope is more at home curling up in from of the fire with a good Agatha Christie novel and a nice glass of wine, therefore, being thrown into the middle of a real-life murder investigation was somewhat of a shock to her system. The fact that the murder scene is right outside her house only seems to heighten the despair she feels for the poor girl lying motionless in the mound of snow.
Her friend and housemate however, is use to being in the limelight. Known as the actress that appeared in a series of popular slasher movies, Arlena Madison, is an up-and-coming young starlet with a leading role in what could be her big break and whilst she is seeing this as a sad incident, to begin with even Arlena cannot foresee the impact it will potentially have on her budding career.
“And you’ve never seen the young girl outside before?” Officer Jenkins asked…
“I only saw a little of her, part of her face was sticking out of the snow and she was blue.” A shiver came over Penelope as she pictured the full blue lips on the girl’s frozen face. “But no, I don’t think so. We work on movie sets and see hundreds of people a day, a lot of them strangers if they’re extras or day players.” (Page 15)
At this stage it is beginning to seem like an unfortunate incident has simply taken place outside their home with little connection to either inhabitant inside, but can that really be the case?
Back on set, the strangest things begin to happen. Firstly, new lines are delivered to Arlena just moments before filming is due to start; new lines that were never agreed to by the director. Then Arlena is rushed into hospital after a golf buggy runs her down whilst she is rehearsing lines with her on-screen husband. However, the final straw comes when someone tampers with Arlena’s makeup causing her to go into anaphylaxis shock and almost killing her.
At this point, you have to start to question whether the girl they found outside their house was the intended target after all.
As the story unfolds, we begin to learn more about the life of the dead girl. Holly Anderson, it appears was not outside Arlena and Penelope’s house purely by chance on that fateful night, she had actually been hoping to discuss a personal matter with the actress. It would appear that they had more in common after all – namely Randall Madison – their father.
Unbeknown to Arlena, she had actually starred into the face of her dead sister – but what had happened to her? Was it an accident or had it been a case of mistaken identity.
At the same time, Penelope finds herself falling for the detective on the case, Joey Baglioni, who just so happens to be the once fat guy she use to go to school with. Now not-so-fat Joey has clearly been working out, causing more than just Penelope to notice him. Will love blossom between them or ultimately will a jealous co-worker get in the way of any budding romance?
Travelling Book Junkie’s Thoughts
What I love about this book is that Shawn Reilly Simmons has used personal knowledge to develop her story-line. She has spent years cooking behind the scenes on movie sets which has lead to the inspiration for not only the story but also one of her main characters, Penelope Sutherland.
She is able to write about the lifestyle of a famous actress from firsthand experience, which means that rather than questioning something as unbelievable, because that could never happen on the set of a film you tend to believe what has been written.
For me, Murder on a Silver Platter was a great cosy crime bedtime read. Whilst fictional, the characters come alive on the pages and you get a true sense of who they are. At the same time the plot is well-thought, containing just about the right amount of prediction and suspense to entice the reader to finish it.
Not only do you find yourself wanting to know who killed Holly Anderson, you also have a desire to know more about the two lead characters, Arlena and Penelope.
If you are after a book to curl up on the sofa with on a miserable day – this could be a book for you.
Have you read any of the Red Carpet Catering Mysteries?
Perhaps you have read a cosy crime novel that you would like to recommend to others? We would love to hear your suggestions.