Celebrity in Death – J.D. Robb


Pros: Intriguing murder mystery and a bit of humor, too!

Cons: None – this book is why I enjoy the In Death series!

I enjoy J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  Set 50 years in the future, and featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a homicide detective with the New York Police Department, these books are fun to read.  Typically, Eve stumbles upon a murder, and works with her partner, Peabody, to solve it.  There is also a good deal of back story surrounding the main characters, thus readers really get to “know” them.

In Celebrity In Death, the murder takes on a unique twist, one that I found quite enjoyable.

As the book opens, we learn that a movie is being made about one of Eve’s recent cases.  In fact, the movie is about the Icove investigation (from the book Origin In Death).  The movie stars some very famous actors, who have been made into near-replicas of Eve, Peabody, and the other detectives who worked that case.  The movie is near its wrap, and there’s a celebratory dinner party for all involved in the film.  Eve and Peabody are honored guests at this party.  However, before dessert can be served, there’s a murder.  The actress playing Peabody has been drowned.

Here’s why I say this murder has a unique twist.  The author makes it clear that Hollywood makeup techniques are far more advanced in the 2060’s than they are today. Thus the actresses playing Eve and Peabody do more than “resemble” the real thing.  They are practically duplicates.  Thus this dinner party includes two Eve’s and two Peabody’s.  Now one of the Peabody’s is dead.  Imagine how the real Peabody must feel – working on dead body that looks eerily like herself.  Not to mention that the houseful of suspects includes look-alikes for the rest of the people involved in the case.  That includes Peabody’s boyfriend, McNab and Eve’s husband, Roarke.  Having suspects look just like the folks investigating the crime led to some very strange (and sometimes humorous) dialog.

Especially since the actress who was killed was none-too-popular.   She stirred up trouble, black-mailed people to get what she wanted, and was just your basic Witch-With-A-B to everyone.   It was funny to hear the real Peabody talk about her but use the first person voice.  As in “God, I hate me… I’m so nasty to everyone!”  Whereas the actress playing Eve was quite nice, so the real Eve got to respond to Peabody saying things like “Well at least I’m a nice person… I really enjoyed talking to me”.

More humorous dialog surrounded the ladies enjoying the attention of the second Roarke.  The real Roarke is known to be quite handsome, and would be quite the ladies’ man, if he weren’t so devoted to Eve.  But now there’s a second Roarke available for the ladies to drool over.

Like I said, this unique twist gave the story some comic relief.

As for the actual murder investigation, I was pleasantly surprised. What started out as a simple “who done it” evolved into quite a complex story, with a very nicely laid out backstory.    Furthermore, Eve solves the case using good old-fashioned common sense and hard work.  As opposed to some of the other books, Eve did not rely on any futuristic gadget, robot, or computer system.  While those devices can add interest to a story, I do prefer cases be solved without any “cheats”.  Thus, Celebrity In Death delivers, on many levels.

Overall, I enjoyed Celebrity In Death.  There’s quite a bit of humor, as well as an intriguing murder mystery.  Do note that as the events of Origin In Death are referred to in this book, it is preferable (although not vital) for readers to have read that one first.


Other books in the In Death series

Betrayal In Death
Born In Death
Ceremony In Death
Concealed In Death
Devoted In Death
Divided In Death  
Festive In Death
Glory In Death
Haunted In Death
Immortal In Death
Indulgence In Death
Innocent In Death
Interlude In Death
Judgment In Death
Midnight In Death
Missing In Death
Naked In Death
Obsession In Death
Naked In Death
Origin In Death
Rapture In Death
Reunion In Death
Salvation In Death
Strangers In Death
Survivor In Death
Treachery In Death
Vengeance In Death
Visions In Death

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