Running out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is over thirty-five. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead. Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when she discovers the female lead’s murdered body.
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One afternoon while standing outside her newly renovated Malibu house, Diana Poole sees a woman across the highway waving at her, but Diana doesn't recognize her. Still waving, the woman walks into the oncoming cars and is killed instantly. Why would anyone do such a thing? The next night, still horrified by the accident, Diana is held at gunpoint by a man demanding the dead woman's scorpion. What kind of scorpion? A live one? A brooch? A pendant? Diana searches the accident scene and finds a diamond-encrusted object in the shape of a scorpion.
Diana Poole was the last of the starlets. A vibrant blonde with a quick wit and sharp intelligence, she was on her way to the top when Colin Hudson changed her mind about being famous. He was the finest screenwriter in Hollywood, and loved her well enough that she lost the acting bug forever. When he dies, he leaves Diana lonely, broke, and verging on middle age - a combination that’s difficult anywhere, but toxic in Hollywood.