“Alex,” my mother said, ”don’t get involved again.”

“Mom, I have no desire to get involved. Only if it’s pretend and I get paid a lot of money for it.”

The second adventure of Alexis Peterson, amateur sleuth and soap opera actress, finds her once again entangled in a murder. In the first book in this series, “Death in the Daytime” she was accused of murdering her head writer of the soap opera “The Yearning Tide.” She has since dropped out of that series and is staring in a new soap opera, “The Bare and the Brazen.” It is the day of the Emmy Awards. She is the presenter. Her co-presenter is absent. The show must go on. She goes ahead with the presentation. She approaches the microphone.

“Good evening. I’m here to present the award for outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.” She takes the envelope. “As I began to open the envelope, I felt something drip on my nose. I knew I was sweaty, but this was ridiculous. I quickly brushed off my nose. Weird. My fingers were red.”

Your co-presenter has been found.

Suddenly other soap opera actors are being killed. Who wants them dead and why? Our heroine Alex Peterson wants to find out. She is balancing her home life with her 5-year-old daughter and her love interest with the local detective Frank Jakes. From time to time her ex intrudes in her life. Using her knowledge of make-up and character acting Alex accompanies Jakes as he interviews suspects.

Humorous in places but always serious this book is a good one for lovers of soap operas and mystery stories to read.

What makes this book a good read is that it is told from Alex’s point of view. The information is presented in such a way that all you have to work with is what she finds. Therefore you find yourself guessing and discarding suppositions as you read along. All good mysteries when they play fair are set up as games. This one keeps to the rules.

This is the second in this series. In the first one, Alexis Peterson is directly involved as a suspect and we were introduced to her tendency to act like a sleuth, an older Nancy Drew. In this second one, Alexis must solve who is killing the male stars of soap operas and why. Together with Jakes, who she can imagine having a real love scene with, trailing her, she manages to aggravate people and influence enemies. The murderer even attempts to stop her by running her off the road at night.

The short coming is that author Eileen Davidson is sparse with the description of characters. We have no real picture of her mother or her daughter, for example. Nor do we have a picture of her co-actors on her soap opera. Mystery stories are plot driven, yet there is space for character descriptions too.

There is enough inside information about the soap opera environment to satisfy. This makes sense as Davidson has been on “The Young and The Restless’ as well as, “Days of our Lives.”

Mysteries are a good escape when you want something to relax with on a hot summer day or any day of the year. They come in all types. In the coming weeks your best looking book reviewer in Santa Monica will look at a few. Contact him at smdp_review@yahoo.com.

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