Design for Dying – Spoilery Review

Design for Dying Spoilery Review

There’s a spoiler disclaimer at the top of this section’s homepage, so if you’re here and reading this now, I’d assume you’ve seen all the warning and caution signs. But just in case! I’ll say it one more time: there are spoilers from this point forward! Read at your own risk.

Okidokes! Read on for my thoughts and opinions on Renee Patrick’s mystery novel – Design for Dying!


Design for Dying takes place in 1930s Los Angeles. 1937, to be exact. I know very little about this time period, but based on what I do know, I’d say Renee Patrick did an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere of the locales and the vibes of the people. It made me want to:

  1. Take a trip down to LA and drive around to the different locations named in the book.
  2. Watch a bunch of old movies starring the actors who had cameos in the story.
  3. Read more mystery novels!

Favorite: Paramount Pictures. I think the studio, and especially the wardrobe department, was truly where fashion and mystery merged in this book. We got to see a lot of cameos and witness Lillian and Edith update each other on the goings on.


Lillian: I think Lillian had the most gumption. I loved her development throughout the story! Many other people would have grieved and went about their lives, but she decided to take matters into her own hands and jump into her own investigation of Ruby’s murder. She was cunning and resourceful and gutsy and I loved it 😀

Edith: Edith was hands-down a quiet genius – both in fashion and in murder mysteries, evidently. She was shrewd without being overbearing or arrogant about it. I’d be tempted to call her the brains of the operation, but Lillian definitely pulled her weight. They made for an excellent team.

Gene: Detective Morrow seemed to have a good sense of people. He knew when it would be in the case’s best interest to let Lillian and Edith take the reins, even when people mocked him for it (yeah, take that you bullies!). There’s still lots we don’t know about Gene and I’m hoping Renee Patrick will fill in his story more in the next book 😀 Special request for a sweet romance between him and Lillian! I’m already thinking of ship names 😛

Ruby: Ruby was a real piece of work. But then again, I imagine a lot of people are like that (although I try to give the benefit of the doubt), especially in the cutthroat Hollywood industry. The flashbacks incorporated by Renee Patrick were a great way to let readers get to know Ruby and depicted just how far down the rabbit hole she had gone. It also endeared me to her a little as the story progressed. She really wasn’t all bad…

Favorite: Lillian!

Main Events

Hungarian Princess: I did not see this one coming. Ruby was Natalie. Natalie was Ruby. Wow. That definitely threw me for a loop and complicated the scenario even further. I wasn’t clear on whether or not Ruby was actually in love with Armand though? I’m gonna say yes, because I’m a hopeless romantic, and I think Armand deserves a break. His love was murdered and his best friend, Esteban…well…

Whodunit: Did anyone guess that Esteban was the killer? He was in my top three, but I didn’t get his motive quite right. I thought maybe he had figured out that Ruby was Natalie and had killed her in a severely misguided attempt to protect Armand. You know, out of “loyalty”. But nope. He did it because he was a greedy son-of-a-*cough*you-know-what.

Closing Thoughts

Loved it and can’t wait for the next one! All you mystery lovers out there should definitely read this. You won’t be sorry! Heck, even if you’re not a mystery lover, you should read it anyway. It might just convert you 😛