Deadly Director’s Cut
Catskill Summer Resort Mystery, Book #2
By Vicki Delany
Author Website: vickidelany(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Daring resort manager Elizabeth Grady will need to think fast to bring a killer into the limelight in this charming 1950s set cozy mystery series.
Famous director Elias Theropodous has chosen Haggerman’s Catskills Resort as a shooting location for his next film. It sounds glamorous to much of the staff, but resort manager Elizabeth Grady is less satisfied. Dealing with the ridiculous demands of the antagonistic director is bad enough, and his attempts to walk all over Elizabeth are making her feel like her position at the resort has been changed into a bit part.
But when Elias is poisoned during a dinner at the resort, the future of the film and the resort itself are on the line. Between an aging movie star, a harried producer, and former victims of the deceased director’s wrath, Elizabeth has a full cast of suspects to examine, and she’ll need to investigate every lead to catch a killer. (Goodreads)
In Deadly Director’s Cut, Vicki Delany’s second mystery set during the 1950’s at a picturesque Catskill Resort, takes readers on a nostalgic summer vacation full of Old Hollywood glamor, intriguing characters, and a worthy mystery to solve.
Resort manager Elizabeth is even busier than normal when a movie production team comes to film at the resort. More than a distraction to her employees and delight to her guests, Elizabeth finds herself at the beck and call of the egotistical and narcissistic director Ellis Therodopolous. She must remind herself that the fees she is charging are worth any temporary inconvenience. Things are going relatively well until Ellis collapses following dinner and dancing at the resort. When his death is ruled a homicide, Elizabeth does all she can to solve his murder and save the resort’s reputation.
Author Delany excels at creating a firm sense of time and place with descriptions that transport readers. I could feel the evening breeze and humidity in the air, smell the firs and the flowers along the manicured grounds, hear the lap of the waves of the lake…I need a vacation start. Lest we become too sentimental about the period, Delany reminds us that the problems of the past still ring true today, and she handles themes such as domestic violence and harassment with a deft touch. This is not too serious a tale and still sits firmly in the cozy/traditional world. The 1950’s setting feels fresh and unexplored in the cozy genre.
I really enjoy the characters, especially protagonist Elizabeth. She is spunky and industrious with her feet planted firmly on the ground. Yes, she is inquisitive, but she is nosy out of necessity. Her livelihood and future rely on the good reputation of the resort. Her relationship with her mother, a former dancer and actress who was absent for much of Elizabeth’s childhood, is growing, as is her relationship with potential love interest and rival resort manager Richard. I really like how they work together here since his reputation is also on the line. As much as I like Richard, there is the potential for a love triangle with New York Times reporter Jim (he played a central role in the series debut Deadly Summer Nights). The supporting characters, including resort employees and the cast and crew of the movie, are numerous but well drawn and easy to keep straight. I particularly like the outside activities director Violet, Aunt Tatiana, and Rosemary.
The murder mystery is well thought out and executed keeping me interested with how it would all play out. The movie cast and crew, along with a couple of locals, provide plenty of suspects with various motives. It took me a while to pinpoint whodunit. The story moves along at a steady, engaging pace. Ellis is oh-so-easy to dislike making him the perfect victim.
I really liked Deadly Director’s Cut and eagerly anticipate the next book in the series. Highly recommended to both cozy and historical mystery fans.