Make Believe
Ed Ifkovic
An Edna Ferber Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press 2012
250 pages

If you have an interest in Hollywood’s Golden Age, musicals (especially Show Boat), writer and journalist Edna Ferber, or enjoy celebrity biographies you are going to enjoy Make Believe by Ed Ifkovic. Make Believe is the fourth  mystery novel starring a fictitious Edna Ferber as well as celebrities like Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra.

Make Believe is very much a cozy: the story is told through a series of conversations and meetings Ferber has with various people and it takes about half the novel before someone gets interested in solving the murder. Make Believe (Edna Ferber Mysteries Book 3)

Edna Ferber, author of Show Boat, flies to Hollywood to lend support to Max Jeffries. Jeffries, a Hollywood agent and the musical arranger for MGM’s upcoming blockbuster Show Boat, is being accused of being a communist sympathizer. This is a death knell in McCarthy’s America and Jeffries’ friends have already disappeared.

When he is found dead a few days later, suspects include Frank Sinatra and Max’s wife Alice whose previous husband died under mysterious circumstances.

Make Believe by Ed Ifkovic features celebrities characters Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, and columnist Louella Parsons. Ifkovic seems to know his stuff and is very good at making them believable characters and not just a parade of famous names.

Where this Hollywood themed mystery novel is not quite my cup of tea is the pacing. The first third of the book relates the events preceding the murder and I found that a bit long.

This said, Make Believe by Ed Ifkovic is an enjoyable mystery and probably better if you appreciate the cozy.