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The Darkness Knows

(Viv and Charlie Mystery #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  640 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Bright lights. Big city. Brutal murder.

Chicago, 1938. Late one night before the ten o’clock show, the body of a prominent radio actress is found dead in the station’s lounge. All the evidence points to murder…and one young, up-and-coming radio actress, Vivian Witchell, as the next victim. But Viv isn’t the type to leave her fate in the hands of others—she’s used to steali
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Sourcebooks (first published March 12th 2013)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in Chicago in 1938, this mystery has a fun setting – most of the novel taking place in a radio station. Vivian Witchell was the secretary to Head of the station, Mr Hart, before becoming a radio actress. Now she is on the popular show, “The Darkness Knows,” while also taking any other work that comes her way. Although her widowed mother is extremely wealthy, Vivian’s independence, and career, is important to her.

One evening, Vivian returns to the lounge, where the actors relax between shows
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars...

Light-reading mystery with a great 1930s era setting at a Chicago radio station. This was a fun book to read with a different atmosphere than what's available on the market today.

Vivian is a wealthy young woman with ambitions to rise through the radio ranks and also to get noticed by her famous co-star, Graham. She hits a bump when she finds another troubled co-star dead. Gasp! Unfortunately her life becomes threatened as well and things escalate. Will PI-turned-bodyguard Charlie kee
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
As I write this blog post I am listening to the Old Time Radio program, Let George Do It. I started listening to old time radio since high school - when my insomnia would keep me up late listening to the radio. On an AM station every so often they would play a few old radio programs - from the 1930s-1960s. One of favourite parts in the program is listening to the radio ads from that time. No wonder people were smoking in that time - smooth flavourable cigarettes sounds pretty dandy. I like liste ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Vivian Witchell is a young woman whose star is on the rise at the Chicago radio station where she works. She's made the successful jump from the secretarial pool into bit parts on several radio serials and she's highly motivated to be as successful as she can be in her chosen career, much to the chagrin of her socialite mother. But when a well known actress is murdered in the station's employee lounge and the letter found on the body indicates that Vivian may be next, career ambitions h
The Library Lady
I would like to give this a 3.75 or perhaps a 3.80 if Good Reads allowed it. It's a very good read and I really liked it, but I have quibbles.

First off, without even knowing this book had a "A Viv and..." book (the digital ARC I have courtesy of Edelweiss doesn't show the cover art,) I immediately knew whom the romantic lead would be the minute he came into the story.
I also quickly knew that the more apparent romantic lead would NOT be the hero, and I've got a pretty good idea about what's goin
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sometimes an author's recurring characters (in a series) are so charming and likeable the reader easily forgives so-so writing. But Viv and Charlie's debut as romantically-linked sleuths in pre-war Chicago is my first-- and last stop-- with this series.
Rarely has a lead character been conceived as shallow, annoying and self-centered as Vivian, a privileged (in looks and family wealth) young woman who has traded her steno pad for acting scripts at the radio station that employs her.
Here's what yo
Rachel McMillan
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. I was saving it until I finished my own Chicago-set book A Lesson in Love and Murder and it was the best post-deadline read.

First off, Honigford builds an effortlessly beautiful historical world: from the bridges criss-crossing the river to the broad, lit billboards, to the ins and outs of radio: the airwaves ruled the entertainment of the day and Viv's world is very much coloured within a studio!

This had a light, cozy feel to it: written with the tang of 1930's slang
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, arc, historical, cozy
I don not normally release a review before the book is published, but I have had number requests for my review PUBLICATION DATE is August 1st, 2016

This historical book about radio beginning days caught my eye as I grew up listening to radio. Reading this first-time author, I found mystery, romance, jealousy, dirty tricks, suspense, and a thriller with many surprises. Characters with which you identified at once. Vivian Witchell is determined to be a star. She is just beginning her career. She st
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I enjoyed this introductory novel into the Viv and Charlie mystery series. The setting of a 1930's radio station in Chicago, complete with radio actors/actresses was atmospheric and I was transported to that time and place. The characters were a little bit cliche for the behind-the-scenes goings on of a radio (or in more modern times, television) show. The aging, diva actress that no one likes, the suave actor trying to make and keep himself relevant, the sweet and innocent newbie (Viv)
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s 1938 in Chicago, and Vivian works at a radio station. After a couple of years as a secretary, she is finally cast as a radio actress in a drama. But all too soon, life mimics art, and Vivian finds herself enmeshed in a real murder mystery. The station’s boss hires a private detective to protect Vivian, but she wants to find the killer. Vivian works well with Charlie, the private eye, and the inevitable attraction develops. Well-developed characters in an equally intersting plot coupled with ...more
Ellen Lindseth
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable book! I enjoyed the romance thread and the vividness of the historical setting, and would definitely pick another up in this series.
Bette Bonder
Jan 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. The premise was an engaging one, and the main character, intended to be a spunky, independent woman, raised my hopes for the book. Alas, it was all downhill from there. The plot was weird and implausible, even for a "quirky" mystery, and one could not believe the story as it unfolded.

The characters were one-dimensional and their actions completely inconsistent. As just one example, Viv and Charlie (and others) repeatedly point out the Charlie will stay with he
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Set in 1938 Chicago, this is a fun, cozy mystery about Vivian, a young woman who is starting to rise in the ranks of radio stardom. Having started as a secretary in a radio station, she now plays bit parts and some major ones in famous radio programs.

Viv is a very ambitious woman, and by working, and even more by wanting to be a radio actress, she has gone against the wishes of her rich and well bred mother, who considers that a woman should better find a husband and settle down.

When a famous ac
Cindy Burnett
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

The Darkness Knows is a fun glimpse into 1930’s Chicago and life at a radio station at the height of radio’s popularity. Vivian Witchell has finally secured herself a coveted role on a popular radio show called The Darkness Knows. One night between shows she discovers the dead body of another radio performer, a decidedly unpopular woman named Marjorie Fox. Beside the body is a note that seems to state that Vivian may be the next target and points to a deranged fan as the possible culpri
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I do enjoy old radio shows, especially mystery and comedy. So, The Darkness Knows, a mystery set at a 1930's radio station, peaked my interest. Picking it up was definitely not a mistake. I loved this tale of a threatened radio actress and private eye hired to keep her safe. While this mystery could be described as cozy by some, it seems to have been influenced more by the hard-boiled school of mystery writing. There's definitely plenty of action, lively, often comic dialogue, a cast of shifty c ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this to be a pretty entertaining cozy mystery. Set in a radio station back in the late 1930's, it was interesting to read about how the behind the scenes worked. They were really spitting out the programs and I found it interesting that one person could be on more than one show.

As for the mystery itself, I had the suspect correct, but the wrong reason for the trip to the foundling. So, that was kind of a buzz kill for me. However, I still enjoyed reading the book. I did find it a little
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Set in Chicago during the heyday of radio drama. I wanted to like Vivian better than I did. Every time I thought she was getting things together - she took off chasing stuff for her career. Instead of finding her likeable, I found her just too driven. Charlie wasn't much better. And Graham ... honestly, how many times is Vivian going to decide to flirt with him to further her own ends

It's not a bad story, just not gripping enough to make me want to read any more of the series.
nikkia neil
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thanks SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and netgalley for this ARC.

So much is packed into this novel. Its condensed down to its perfect version. I loved the newness of radio in this novel. I think a lot of people are going to jump on the bandwagon so I hope the sequel will be coming out soon.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was great. Hard to believe this is the author's first book. I love the era and the descriptions of Chicago and radio. I felt like I was really there. The characters and the plot were fun. I did think, while not descriptive and behind closed doors, the implied sex was unnecessary. Still loved the book and can't wait to read the next one in the series.
Anna Aurora
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a pretty good mystery, very atmospheric .I liked it, would recommend if you like those classic mystery books.
3,5/5 stars
Lexxi Kitty
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley, and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review

A quick addition to the book for those coming across my review through a feed or other means - this book is: Historical Fiction Mystery, and any and all romance is M/F.

As I noted in a status update, I initially was made aware of this book when I happened to notice it being recommended to me by GoodReads when I was on the GoodReads page for Strivers’ Row Spy. This book, out of all the ones bein
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Up and coming radio actress Vivian discovers the dead body of the station's leading lady in the green room, and she might be next. The details of 1938 Chicago were amazing. Also, I am a sucker for OTR, been listening to it since I discovered it and Remember WENN back in high school, so the details of life at the station were a ridiculous amount of fun. But the city really, really came to life and that was the best part of all for me. Viv was a great character--sympathetic, allowed to be scared, ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
31/2 stars! Vivien Witchell is an up and coming radio star on 1930's Chicago radio station WCHI! Another well known radio actress is found dead--murdered--on the premises. A suspicious letter indicates that Vivien might be the second victim and Charlie Haverman, a private detective, is hired to protect her. Vivien jumps right in to try and solve the case--hence begins a new series--as indicated on the book jacket "A Viv and Charlie Mystery"! And by the way, the book cover illustration was great- ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it
After reading The Little Red Chairs, I needed something lighter. Cheryl Honigford’s The Darkness Knows, thankfully, delivered. This series debut is set just before World War II in the Chicago studios of WCHI. Vivian Witchell is on the lower rungs of the radio star ladder, but she’s just landed her first regular role in the series The Darkness Knows playing a detective’s sidekick. Viv has been on the show for about a week before she lands smack in the middle of a real murder mystery. Viv has all ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
I received this book as a gift and it looked like it would be right up my alley. A mystery set in 1930's Chicago in the height of the radio age. The lead character is a radio actress, so I thought, "Great, this will be enjoyable." I'm sorry to say that I didn't care for it much. The mystery isn't very difficult at all to figure out. The lead character, I thought, was totally unlikeable and very childish and the writing and plot are both weak. Not to mention that I don't like my mysteries mixed u ...more
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
3.5 to 4 stars

I love WWII era stories, and while The Darkness Knows is set a bit earlier I was drawn in by the idea of mystery set during the golden age of radio drama. Vivian is a radio actress caught up in a murder occurring at her station; Charlie is the detective assigned to watch over her. Viv's priorities shift from fame to searching for justice as the story progresses, determining who among her co-workers is responsible for killing one of Chicago's top radio stars.

The story is a delight
Barb Martin
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I was captivated from the first sentence in "The Darkness Knows," a mystery novel set in 1938 Chicago and a murder at a radio station. The novel's setting and characters reminded me of the old television series, "Remember WENN," which we watched when my sons were young.

Vivian is an independent woman trying to make her way as a radio actress, except when she is drooling over handsome men or living in her mother's house. Vivian's character is just like the ones you would see in a 1938-era movie ve
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The rich history of Chicago bleeds off the pages in this thrilling mystery novel. There's glamour, intrigue and just a hint of romance, all while we get a glimpse into 1930s Chicago. Radio drama, murder, other mysteries and a love story all unfold within the pages of The Darkness Knows.
Severely disappointed as the premise, time and location are all things I was interested in. One huge thing for me was the overuse of "smirk"--everyone seemed to do it, and it drew me out of the story.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Darkness Knows was a cozy read. I was looking for a delightful, easy read when I found this one on the local library's bookshelf. Set in the '20s, the book follows a woman named Vivian who is striving to live as an independent woman in an era when women weren't allowed to be the bread winners. As her mother tries to convince her to attend banquets and the like to attract a decent husband, a murderer is out to get her because of her connections where she works in the radio broadcasting studio ...more
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Born and raised in Ohio, Cheryl Honigford has been writing stories since she could read (and telling stories even before that). She received her BA in Journalism, with a minor in English, from The Ohio State University.

She is the author of The Viv and Charlie Mystery series which includes The Darkness Knows (2016), Homicide for the Holidays (October 10, 2017), and Dig Deep My Grave (August 2018).


Other books in the series

Viv and Charlie Mystery (3 books)
  • Homicide for the Holidays (Viv and Charlie Mystery, #2)
  • Dig Deep My Grave (Viv and Charlie Mystery #3)

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