Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clubbed To Death - Elaine Viets

Clubbed To Death
A Dead-End Job Mystery
Elaine Viets


Helen Hawthorne is still in hiding from her ex-husband. She quit her high-paying job and lives in anonymity, taking low-paying, dead-end jobs so that her cheating ex can’t get alimony from her. She just learned that her ex, Rob, got married again. To Marcella, a fabulously wealthy woman whose husbands have a strange habit of dying; usually after she catches them cheating. Which means Rob may not last too long. And Helen is unsure how she really feels about that, despite trying and failing to stop the wedding.

Now she’s working at the Superior Club, a club that once accepted only the cream of the social register, but now takes anyone who has money, no matter what the source. Helen works in “customer care.” That’s complaints, anywhere else. It’s not fun to cater to the whims of the spoiled and idle (and rude) rich, but it’s the best-paying job she’s had in quite a while. When Marcella’s huge yacht docks in the marina, Helen’s main concern is avoiding Rob. But, of course, that’s not going to happen. He stops her in the parking lot late one night. One thing leads to another, and Helen lands an incredibly satisfying punch right to his mouth.

The following day, Marcella reports Rob missing. He pretty much admitted to Helen that he might be cheating, among other things. And when security finds his blood-soaked shirt on the grounds, Helen is the prime suspect. One of her supervisors, who never met a rule she didn’t love to exploit for her own gain, saw the fight and is only too happy to tell the authorities about it. Just when things seem like they couldn’t get more bizarre, Helen is arrested, then bailed out. By Marcella, who is already speaking of Rob in the past tense.

This latest in a long-running series is the most entertaining of the lot. Seeing Helen get a bit of her dignity back, if only for a moment, is very satisfying for those who have been following her so far. The setting provides for plenty of likely suspects, and Rob is the type of guy who makes a habit of irritating people. There are several possibly outcomes, and it’s interesting to see the whole thing play out, especially since Helen’s investigation is aimed at clearing herself from suspicion. Written in a breezy and engaging style, this is sure to make fans of the series very happy.

Rating: 7
May 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-22394-4 (hardcover)


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