“Murder at the Palace” A Movie Palace Mystery series By Margaret Dumas: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of this book, and links to purchase it.

“Cut…That's a Wrap!”

It's the final scene for almost-forty Nora Paige and Ted Bishop, her movie-star husband who ran off with his latest leading lady. Hounded by the tabloids and paparazzi, Nora needs to get away, so Robbie, her close friend, suggests she move to San Francisco and take refuge at the Palace, a historic movie theatre that shows old movies…excuse me, classic films. Kate Winslow, the long-time manager of the theatre, died in an tragic, but odd, accident, and if Nora accepts the position, she'd be doing her friend a big favor. So, living in The City and managing the marvelous theatre, she embarks on a quieter life...take two!

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Murder at the Palace Earns 5/5 Classic Films…Clever and Totally Engaging!

On her first day, Nora is introduced to a beautiful old building with all the fine woodwork and craftsmanship any 1927s architect could design along with the aroma of decades of “popcorn, spilled sodas, dust, sweat, and dreams.” But, also in need of some TLC…there goes the ice machine! Nora meets a quirky staff comprising of a ninety-year-old film buff, angry projectionists, social media film student, and a soft-spoken teenager, but she isn't sure any of this was going to work…she may be right. Down in the basement, set to haul up ice from the back-up ice machine, Nora gets a frustrating text message from her soon-to-be ex and finds a dead body in the ice machine! The body dead for about two weeks…right around the time Kate had her “accident.” The dead body is identified, and the circumstances surrounding Kate’s death become curious, if not downright suspicious.
Image Source Henery Press

It's common that old buildings have rumors of hauntings, and The Palace Theatre is no exception. Ghosts? One story of paranormal activity was from the early days of the theater when vaudeville troupes performed; a showgirl died in a freak knife-throwing accident. Later in 1937, a teenage usherette was thrown from the balcony. The Palace was also the subject of one of those ghost-hunting reality shows, but other than some flickering lights and cold spots in the balcony, nothing was caught on film. Nora doesn't believe in ghosts, of course, but when she suffers a concussion after falling off a ladder, she sees…Trixie?

I always enjoy a little paranormal in my cozy, and this first-in-a-series is just what I wanted…it all works brilliantly! Margaret Dumas penned an excellent cozy with more than one mystery to explore with secrets, surprises, classic film references, wonderful quirky characters, and a ghost! Nora is an injured soul, who isn't, but she may just have found the right place to shine and find her strength. Everything…everything was fascinating from the movie references linked to the plot, highlights of San Francisco, pasts coming back to haunt (literally), and each character finding the strength to let another person in. It was a page-turner extraordinaire with a well-written first-person narrative sharing Nora’s inner thoughts, vivid descriptions to fill the senses, and entertaining banter that illustrated personality and emotion. I loved it! Ooooh, is that a cliffhanger prefacing a book two?

Many authors weave into their narrative tips or extra information on a particular subject or the theme of their series. With Margaret’s focus on an old theater and classic films, she includes facts to provide a connection to the drama or educate the reader. In the Author’s Notes at the beginning of the book, Margaret does alert readers to some spoilers when discussing some old films. Every few chapters or so, she includes a blog-like post written by a mysterious character in the story. “Movies My Friends Should Watch by Sally Lee” focuses on a specific film by giving facts, plot details, and insights. Don't skip those parts, they are fascinating!

Want More Sally? If you enjoyed Sally Lee’s movie blogs, check out the Movies My Friends Should Watch by Sally Lee website. And watch good movies!

Be a Big Margaret Dumas Fan!
Margaret Dumas pens the two-book Charley Fairfax Mystery series also set in San Francisco—well, she does live there ya’ know. Charley Van Leeuwen is a theater director who finds herself dealing with mayhem and murder.

Website -- Margaret Dumas
Twitter -- Hey Margaret

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of Murder at the Palace, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "palace,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 23, 2019. U.S. and Canadian residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors!

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Thanks for the chance to win! JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  2. I love old movies. This sounds great! ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Sounds like a great new (to me) series! I'd love to win a copy of Murder at the Palace, Thanks for the chance!! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  4. Sounds like a great start to a new series. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. This is definitely on my list to buy.
    My mom tells of dancing on stage in the 1920's,
    practically behind the curtain because the dance
    line was by height and she was the shortest!
    Thank you for your review.
    karen94066 at aol dot com

  6. Sounds like a series I should be reading.


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