Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dial Me For Murder - Amanda Matetsky


Dial Me For Murder
A Paige Turner Mystery
Amanda Matetsky
Berkley Prime Crime

Mystery

Paige Turner has worked hard to be where she is: the only female crime reporter in 1955 Manhattan. She works for a true crime magazine, occasionally writing a cover story in between her usual typing, filing, and coffee-making duties. Every morning, she scans the papers for a good story. One October morning, she finds one that sounds perfect for her.

Virginia Pratt, a young, single secretary, found nude and bound, wrapped in a sheet and covered with a pile of leaves. Strangely, the killer left Virginia’s clothing, including a mink jacket, diamond jewelry and a handbag, wrapped in another sheet nearby. Putting aside for a moment why the killer would do that, Paige immediately wonders how a young single woman living in Manhattan would afford mink and diamonds. And she was found on a Monday night; not a big party night.

Many of Paige’s questions are answered – and a lot of her worldview shattered – when she gets a phone call from Sabrina Stanhope, inviting her to lunch in her upscale apartment. Sabrina was once a socialite. Now she’s a madam, managing a stable of high-priced escorts who serve some of the most wealthy and influential men in the city. There might be plenty of people who had a reason to kill Virginia. Sabrina wants Paige to investigate, believing that she’ll bring a woman’s understanding and insight to the case. One huge problem: Paige just promised her boyfriend, Detective Sergeant San Street, that she’d keep her nose clean and stay out of investigations.

Paige (MURDER ON A HOT TIN ROOF) is a fun and lively character. By today’s standards, she’s a bit “gee-whiz,” but I would imagine that was pretty standard for a woman in a man’s world in the 1950s. Speaking of the era, the author really brings it to life. From Paige’s wardrobe to her attitudes to the rest of the characters and surroundings, 1955 Manhattan seems real and present. The mystery and investigation are quite interesting, given the victim’s line of work and Paige’s inexperience with that kind of life. For new readers, Paige offers a capsule recap that is clever and perfectly true to Paige’s character. I hope to see more of her.

Rating: 7 ½
September 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22050-4 (paperback)

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