The year is 1927 and Frank Lozano is running a detective agency in the City of Angels. An ex-cop and recovering alcoholic, Frank has a lot of demons to deal with. His time with the LA Police Force was littered with brutality and corruption which led him to the bottle. As a result, his wife divorced him and took their two children to live with her and her new boyfriend in Chicago. In his new life, Frank struggles to make a living and to maintain sobriety. His secretary, Agnes, and her husband live in the same apartment building as he does and, when the story opens, Frank is escorting her to court to help her deal with a pending inheritance. They step into the lift and discover drops of blood seeping through the elevator’s ceiling. There Is a dead body on top of the lift – a young man of Jewish faith, who may be the victim of a hate crime committed by the KKK, which was still quite active and open in the 1920s. Enter Rosemary, an independent young debutante who seeks a position with Frank’s firm as a researcher. Frank finds himself attracted to this beautiful, young feminist and struggles to control his feelings.
As the Lozano boys, along with Rosemary and Agnes, endeavor to unravel the mystery surrounding the young man’s death, many questions arise. Was the boy killed by the Klan? Or, perhaps, the Chicago Mob? Who is Archie Pines and what is he really up to? And, finally, who are all those men in masks that are harassing Rosemary and Agnes? The answers will surprise you as author Mallery tosses in a major twist near the end that this reader had no idea was coming!
This was a fun mystery. Besides all the fascinating characters, real life movie stars like “Fatty Arbuckle” (disgraced film star) and Charlie Chaplin, float in and out. I note from the book’s page on Amazon that it is the first in a series and that there is a prequel titled, Glamour Town.
In summary, All Those Masks is highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction, historical romance, and historical mystery novels.