The Movie Palace Mystery Series (Yes, Actual Books)

Yes, we love sharing our thumbnail reviews of old and not-so-old movies.  So why would we both want to write about a series of “cozy” mysteries?  Well, the clue is in the title of the series of course!   The Movie Palace Mystery Series by Margaret Dumas (available on Amazon) is simply a delight for classic movie buffs.   For some reason, the first in the series landed in our shared Kindle library quite some time ago, and we finally got around to reading it.  Well, Mary was hooked and persuaded (didn’t take much) Jerry to give the series a try, even though mystery snobs may classify the books as “chick fiction” fare too light to entertain gentlemen readers.   Sadly, that may dissuade a large swathe of potential readers not to become a part of the Palace theater family.  However, we’ve devoured the first three books of the series (see how hopeful we are that there will be more) and are enjoying the blog authored by the heroine Nora Paige aka Sally Lee aka Margaret Dumas.   The setting (and, one might say, a character as much as a place) is the Palace in San Francisco, a grand old theater that once hosted vaudeville acts and silent films.   It continues to this day showing only classic movies, but of course is always on the verge of potential failure. Here’s a quick look at the delightful (one might say quirky) characters that work in and around the Palace.  First, there’s  Nora the manager who has a plethora of personal problems but has found a happy place to live and work  Her new best friend is Trixie (couldn’t wait to write about Beatrix aka Trixie) the resident and perfectly charming ghost seen only by Nora.  (Trixie was an usherette in the 1930s and died an untimely death over the theater balcony.) And then there’s Marty the grumptious (yes, it’s a made-up word but perfectly descriptive) projectionist who broadcasts the 20th Century fanfare upon arriving at work each day.  Others include Callie a lovely young film student and member of the staff, Albert a 90-something gentleman who first attended the Palace as a young lad, and Brandon who has a massive crush on Callie throughout.  Of course, there are a plethora of other fun characters in the neighborhood that become integral to the Palace stories. The books are chockful of allusions to famous classic films, and there are several blog posts about them along the way. (Sally’s blogs are delightful — worth the read even if you don’t read the books.)  We found several film titles that we had not seen and so of course, we are working our way through them (watch for blog posts on the films in the coming weeks!).  Oh, and yes, there is a mystery to be solved in each book.  It is critical to read the series in order but since each is a quick read, it is certainly not an onerous task. One might characterize each story as sort of classic screwball (if you’re a classic movie fan, you’ll get the allusion) with fiascos galore, shady characters and various shenanigans    Well, it would be easy to go on and on.  Suffice it to say, you must give this series a whirl if you love classic movies, or even if you don’t but you like a charming cozy mystery series (particularly for those of you who plan to curl up in front of a fire in the cold months ahead!). 

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