Bright Star by David C. Smith
From Pulp Hero Press:
A hundred years ago, when women were fighting for the right to vote and Hollywood barely existed, Chicago was the center of filmmaking--bustling with movie studios, movie stars, and millionaires. The Windy City produced more motion pictures and had more stars than anyplace else in the world.
The brightest star of the era was Catherine Farr, beautiful, intelligent, and beloved by millions. Then she vanished. In March 1920, the Bright Star of the movies boarded a train and never got off.
Was she murdered? The prime suspect was her lover, movie director Toby Swanney. But she had angered many people because of her outspoken beliefs. Or perhaps she simply left everything behind to live life on her terms, like so many of the independent women in her films.
A hundred years later, her great-great-nephew, a young screenwriter in Hollywood, returns to the small town where Catherine Farr was born to investigate the mystery. As Elliott Farr pieces together the clues of what happened, he rediscovers the rich history of the early movies--the explosion of talent, the remarkable personalities, and the excitement of creating a new art form for the twentieth century--while uncovering what actually happened to the Bright Star of the early movies.
"David C. Smith takes a long-forgotten piece of American cinema history and creates a mesmerizing story filled with unique characters. Like the movies of long ago, Bright Star is great entertainment." --Michael F. Blake, Author and Two-Time Emmy Award Winner
"An engrossing tale of a fictional star's memoir and her puzzling fate." - Kirkus Reviews