Today's book celebrates that time of year that avid moviegoers love: Oscar season. It's that month or so leading up to the presentation of the Academy Awards on live television. (Tune in at 7:30 tonight on WLS-Channel 7 to watch the awards and check out Richard Roeper's Red Carpet Diaries online).
Veteran entertainment reporter Mary McNamara has spent much of her 17 years at the Los Angeles Times covering Oscar season, so she's well-schooled in the behind-the-scenes drama that goes along with it. In her debut novel, Oscar Season (Simon & Schuster, 325 pages, $24), McNamara takes what she knows — the parties, the stars, the PR machinery, the tantrums, the back-stabbing, the indiscretions and, of course, the gift baskets — and throws a murder mystery into the mix.
Publisher's Weekly says: "Agatha Christie meets Hollywood Squares in journalist McNamara's glitzy debut."
Here's the opening paragraph of this Hollywood whodunit:
"Staff members of the Pinnacle Hotel in Los Angeles received their Oscar Night Survival Kits at their annual Oscar Season Summit, held three days before nominations were announced. The black leather fanny packs (donated by Coach) contained the following: two pairs of cufflinks, two bow ties (one clip, one traditional), one set of tweezers, three makeup brushes, two compacts each of eye shadow and blush (donated by M.A.C), three lipsticks (one gloss, one matte, one shimmer, all Chanel), four tubes of concealer in various skin tones, a dozen tiny safety pins, a roll of toupee tape (for preventing wardrobe malfunctions), a sewing kit, a tube of hair gel, a lint brush, a tin of breath mints, a bottle of ibuprofen, and a small vial of Xanax."
Note: There are two other Oscar-related book reviews in today's Sun-Times. In my column, I review Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography, by Charlotte Chandler; and free-lance film critic Bill Stamets reviews Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and Birth of the New Hollywood, by Mark Harris.