All that writer Cece Caruso, a 39-year-old former beauty queen from Jersey, really wants to do is finish her biography of Erle Stanley Gardner so she can finally stop obsessing about Perry Mason. Well, that, and find a 1970 silk chiffon Ossie Clark to add to her collection of vintage clothing. And fix the broken front doorknob in her West Hollywood bungalow. But first she has to help save her daughter's floundering marriage, which is more than Cece could manage for her own.
Everybody's got problems. In a last-ditch effort to kick a bad case of writer's block, Cece pays a visit to a prison inmate who had once corresponded with Gardner, pleading his innocence. Her impetuousness lands her smack in the middle of a case worthy of Perry Mason himself, a double-edged mystery linking a forty-year old murder to one where the body is still warm. Propelled by tenacity, curiosity, a sense of humor, and an understanding of human nature's dark side, Cece will channel the inner sleuth she never realized she possessed to find a killer who is all too real--and all too close.
I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is hip, sexy and smart, with an unforgettable cast of characters, planted firmly in terra California. Join Cece as she breaks into crime scenes, outfoxes lawyers, rekindles a romance with a police detective, and —oh, yes— finally makes her peace with Perry Mason.
"...a savvy debut mystery...Cece's bright personality, along with her cleveranalysis of Gardner's classic mysteries, make future adventures a promising prospect."
— MARILYN STASIO, THE NEW YORK TIME
"Kandel...has crafted a self-aware story stepped in a Chandlerian vision of Los Angeles -- and, with just enough references to Robertson Boulevard boutiques and Chanel suits, this first novel straddles, rather elegantly, the genres of chick-lit beach book and smart mystery."
— L.A. WEEKLY
"Cece Carso is the new girl on the mystery block, and is she ever a hoot...lively reading."
— ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
"If Nancy Drew had a closet full of couture, she'd be the star of former art critic Kandel's pulpy fashion-forward mystery. While researching a biography of Erle Stanley Gardner, vintage-wearing vixen Cece Caruso finds herself attempting to crack a dusty murder case Gardner abandoned 40 years ago. Kandel demonstrates an equally sharp eye for dramatic plot twists and creative outfits ("Did I dare don a snood?"). With a well-spun plot and clever writing ("The only things about me that's a size six is two-thirds of one foot"), this quick clip of a novel will appeal to fans of whodunits and designers duds alike. Grade: A-
— ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
"Cece is intelligent, motivated,and kind of a smart mouth -- a girl after my own heart...Four stars!"
— ROMANTIC TIMES
A delightful read with an engaging, savvy, intrepid heroine who finds mystery in crime fiction history. Cece Caruso will have you singing the author's praises.
— ROCHELLE KRICH, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF DREAM HOUSE
I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is wonderful fun. Susan Kandel has griten an adventurous, humorous, debut novel that takes us on a well-researched romp through California's past and present complete with turn-of-the-century robber barons and the haute couture of the 40's. Our narrator is the thoroughly likable and modern biographer Cece Caruso. I finished this book this morning and I'm already longing for Cece's return and another case worthy of her skills.
— BARBARA SERANELLA, AUTHOR OF UNPAID DUES AND UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE
Clever, twisty and mint original, I Dreamed I Married Perry Masonwill enchant mystery lovers. Susan Kandel depicts West Hollywood with a discerning eye, a tart tongue and a generous heart.
— CARLYN HART, AUTHOR OF MURDER THE PLANK
The verdict is in, and I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is a winner. Susan Kandel is guilty of penning an utterly original, artful and nicely noir novel of murder and intrigue--all dressed up in fabulous vintage Hollywood fashions. Yum!
— MARY KAY ANDREWS, AUTHOR OF LITTLE BITTY LIES
...This lively and slightly idiosyncratic heroine, the sometimes exotic California surrounds, and the complicated plotting make this series debut essential.
— LIBRARY JOURNAL
The verdict: thumbs up to newcomer Kandel’s series for its snappy dialogue and carefully worked out plot.
— KIRKUS REVIEW (STARRED REVIEW)
Readers should give Cece a warm welcome to the legion of perky female sleths.
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
I thought this book was just fascinating...Look for this book on some award short lists.
— DEADLY PLEASURES
I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is an off-beat but totally delightful amateur sleuth novel. The heroine is a total original... Susan Kandel has agreat writing style and a voice that will have readers wanting to read more mysteries by this talented storyteller.
— HARRIET KLAUSNER, ALLREADERS.COM
"This is a book that would make Perry Mason proud."
— MYSTERY SCENE
"I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is an incredible book. Kandel turns out to be the Umberto Eco of chicklit. This cozy manages to tell an engrossing story while also offering a post-modern analysis of Erle Stanley Gardner's work. As with Eco, if you don't get all of the references, it doesn't hamper your enjoyment of the surface story one bit, but the savvy reader will find a wealth of lit crit here hidden among the snappy dialog and the riffs on 1940s Los Angeles. Kandel has managed something wonderful in this pulp-meets-cozy construction as she stitches all of the elements of a standard Perry Mason novel into her plot, right down to the detective's brilliant deduction in the last scene that locks together all of the clues and delivers an unexpected twist. If you've ever wanted to spend some time in the lost landscape of the small coastal towns that existed in the Southern California of the 1940s, Cece's the perfect guide. Like the best, she makes you laugh so hard you'll forget you're learning quite a bit along the way."