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Dial H for Hitchcock: A Cece Caruso Mystery Paperback – October 27, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Alfred Hitchcock fans should love Kandel's fifth Cece Caruso mystery (after 2007's Christietown), a terrific tribute that's also wickedly funny. L.A. vintage fashionista Cece, who's just returned from her solo honeymoon after dumping LAPD Det. Peter Gambino, is researching a Hitchcock biography when her life takes a Hitchcockian turn. After watching a screening of Vertigo, she returns home to find someone else's cellphone in her purse. A curious call on the cellphone leads Cece to Beechwood Canyon, where she hopes to return it to its owner, Anita Colby. Instead, Cece winds up witnessing the cool blonde's murder. As Cece gets drawn deeper into a plot with alarming similarities to the celebrated director's noir masterpieces, she fears she's become a victim of identity theft as well as a dead ringer for the Kim Novak character in Vertigo. Kandel keeps the action tight all the way to a delightful denouement that Hitch no doubt would've appreciated. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Just back from a solo honeymoon, after canceling her wedding, Cece Caruso becomes embroiled in a devious plot that implicates her in a murder. Fortyish grandmother Cece, a Jersey girl relocated to L.A. who writes biographies of dead mystery authors, is researching Alfred Hitchcock when she finds a cell phone identical to hers in her purse. Her attempt to find the phone’s owner leads her to witness a man pushing a woman off a cliff, after which a call warns Cece to report the incident as an accident; then she finds a call recorded on the mysterious cell in which she herself threatens to kill the victim. Running just ahead of police to try to stay out of custody, she untangles the web with last-minute help from her former fiancé, LAPD detective Peter Gambino. The fifth in the Cece Caruso series is another breezy, entertaining entry. Brisk prose, a pistol of a protagonist, and nice riffs on Hitch—both biographical and psychological—more than compensate for an overly contrived plot. --Michele Leber
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061826677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061826672
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Diane Vallere on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a CeCe Caruso fan since the beginning, my favorite of the series being Not a Girl Detective (Cece Caruso Mysteries). Since discovering the series, I've become a huge fan of Hitchcock movies, and I've moved to Los Angeles. Both of these facts impacted my review!

I read this in under 24 hours. It's a fast read that includes the expected-of-the-mystery-genre twists and turns. It also includes plenty of references to Hitchcock movies. Having watched most of the director's movies more than once (and the accompanying documentaries too), I enjoyed reliving famous scenes through CeCe Caruso's eyes. Full disclosure: I'm also a fan of fashion, both current and vintage, and the descriptions of the clothes were great (and envy-triggering).

So, if you don't like mysteries, clothes, or Hitchcock, you might not like this. Living in LA added a bonus since that's the series' setting, but I don't think it would make or break the reading experience.
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Format: Paperback
This is the fifth and final (so far that I know) book in the Cece Caruso mystery series. I didn't realize this book was out for a long time after it was published and it has since sat languishing in my to-be-read pile. Cece is an author of mystery writer/filmmaker biographies who also has a taste for vintage clothing. She has an earthy daughter named Annie who has given her one grandchild, plus another from Annie's marriage to Vincent, and when we last met her in CHRISTIETOWN, she was planning her wedding to police officer Peter Gambino.

Except when this book begins she has walked out of her wedding, telling Gambino she isn't good enough for him, and has just come back from what should have been her honeymoon cruise. She returns home to find she has new neighbors, some type of odd people who are Hollywood types. Her troubles begin when she goes to a revival showing of Hitchcock's VERTIGO and after the show finds a cell phone which is not hers in her bag. In attempting to return it, she sees a woman pushed from a hiking trail by a man, who then threatens her. But, bizarrely, she discovers that she has apparently threatened this young woman.

I've read some bizarre mysteries in my time, but this one takes the cake. The previous Cece mysteries were always a little dippy, as is Cece herself, but this was just oddly off the wall, with Cece trying to figure out how she threatened someone she didn't even know. And when she goes on the run because she knows someone is trying to frame her, she just keeps getting in more and more absurd situations, and it turns out to be the dumbest thing at the end. Frankly, if this hadn't been the last book in the series, I would have quit reading here anyway.
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Format: Paperback
This is the fifth, and so far the last, book in the CeCe Caruso series of chick lit mysteries.

When last we saw CeCe (Christietown) she was on the brink of marrying her long time boyfriend Det Gambino. Things did not go according to plan though, CeCe called off the wedding but she did go on the honeymoon, on her own. Now, back home she is determined to get on with her life, put the finishing touches on her latest book, a biography of Hitchcock and possibly even to meet a new man or two. What she didn't plan on doing though was getting involved in another real life murder. CeCe found herself a victim of mistaken identity, involved in a plot she did not understand but one that seemed to place her in greater danger with every new development.

This series started slowly (I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason) hit a sophomore slump with Not a Girl Detective and then improved with each subsequent novel. This one is the best of the series and seems to be the last one.
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Format: Paperback
Taking your honeymoon alone is not recommended. Just ask Cece Caruso. She's just returned from a lonely cruise after calling off her wedding. And she's returned to find herself facing a deadline on her biography of suspense master director Alfred Hitchcock. So what does she do? She goes to a screening of Vertigo at an old theater in town.

The next morning, Cece finds someone else's cell phone in her purse. Trying to return it, she witnesses a murder. Then the killer calls her and warns her to keep quiet. As she begins to try to find out who is doing this to her, Cece continually finds herself one step behind...herself. What in the world is going on?

I've been watching a few Hitchcock films over the last couple of years since I knew he would be the subject for this book. As a result, I completely got it. The book is a classic Hitchcock set up, and it works brilliantly. While parts in the first third were a tad slow, I was hooked the entire time and couldn't wait to see how it ended. And how did it end? Well, I'm not going to give anything away, but I will say I absolutely loved it.

Since the point of the book was to isolate Cece, we don't get to see too much of the supporting cast. I missed them, but hopefully we'll get to see more of them soon in a later book.

There were some bits of humor to lighten the load as things progressed, but the further the story went, the more it focused on the mystery.

Even though the plot is very Hitchcockian, I do think fans of the series who aren't familiar with the director will enjoy the book as well. This is a great book that will keep you reading until the very last page.
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