Pretty as a Picture

Pretty as a Picture

By Elizabeth Little
352 pages
January 2021


"Funny, fast-paced, and a pleasure to read." --The Wall Street Journal

An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island, and a decades-old murder--the addictive new novel from the bestselling author of Dear Daughter

Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary--and legendarily demanding--director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

Some girl dies.

It's not much to go on, but the specifics don't concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She'll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.
But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it's supposed to be--or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.
Then she meets the intrepid and incorrigible teenage girls who are determined to solve the real-life murder that is the movie's central subject, and before long, Marissa is drawn into the investigation herself.
The only problem is, the killer may still be on the loose. And he might not be finished.

A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit, Pretty as a Picture is a captivating page-turner from one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction.

"A film editor who can’t much tell where stories end and life begins, Marissa is also prickly, hyperarticulate, suspicious, neurotic, surprisingly tough and very funny — the ideal narrator for a book that pays homage to Hollywood and classic detective fiction. . . . The book celebrates women who have each other’s backs and put their friends ahead of their men. It is also a valentine to the intoxications of filmmaking and film-viewing."
—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review

"Ms. Little’s witty book deftly skewers the movie-making world and the types who inhabit it. . . . Pretty as a Picture, with its mix of satire and action, is funny, fast-paced, and a pleasure to read." 
The Wall Street Journal

"In Elizabeth Little’s nimble Pretty as a Picture, part of the fun is figuring out L.A. film editor Marissa Dahl. . . . Despite (or maybe because of) her quirks, Marissa Dahl is an engaging narrator who’s up for the challenge [of solving the crime], her encyclopedic knowledge of cinema serving as her north star." 
—The Los Angeles Times