Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Crazy Little Thing Called Death - Nancy Martin

A Crazy Little Thing Called Death
A Blackbird Sisters Mystery
Nancy Martin
New American Library


When their fabulously wealthy parents ran through their money and then fled the country, the Blackbird sisters, once fixtures of Philadelphia’s Main Line society, had to find other means of support. Nora found her niche reporting on society functions for a newspaper. After all, she knows everyone and still gets invitations to every party worth attending. Which is how she happens to be at a polo match, slogging through the mud, one spring morning. The parents of former child actor Sweet Penny Devine arranged the match as a memorial for their daughter. The only catch? No one knows if she’s dead, or just missing. ‘Dead’ seems the more likely possibility when Nora discovers a severed hand on the field.

Nora has other pressing matters on her mind. Emma seems to be sober, but has she turned to illicit methods of making a living? And Libby, the eldest, has managed to refrain from becoming pregnant again, but is driving Nora to distraction with all her wedding plans. Nora’s longtime paramour, Mick Abruzzo, son of a famous mobster, finally convinced her to marry him. While Mick is avoiding the family business and trying to go straight, most of polite society, including Nora’s two sisters, is not completely pleased with the arrangement. There’s more grist for the gossip mill when it looks like someone is trying to kill Mick. She knows it’s not logical, but Nora fears the curse of the Blackbird women; the curse that says any man who marries a Blackbird girl is doomed to an early death.

This series is entertaining, but the sixth installment is not the strongest of the lot. The characters have had five novels and one novella to mature and grow, yet they remain, with a few exceptions, largely the same. The on-again, off-again nature of Mick and Nora’s relationship may delight some readers, but I feel like it’s getting a bit old. The author is certainly talented enough to keep the characters strong and interesting while bringing this particular arc to a close, one way or the other. The mystery this time around is involving and contains several likely suspects. Here’s hoping the next installment brings some final decisions and fresh starts.

Rating: 7
March 2007
ISBN# 978-0-451-22041-7 (hardcover)


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