Thursday, May 29, 2008

Murder Can Crash Your Party - Selma Eichler

Murder Can Crash Your Party
A Desiree Shapiro Mystery
Selma Eichler


Manhattan PI Desiree Shapiro is both flattered and confused when she’s invited to speak at the Arresting Women conference. The conference is made up of female mystery writers who use female sleuths, and their fans. At first, she’s reluctant to go, since public speaking is not her favorite thing. But the lure of a weekend in Connecticut at a lovely inn, a speaking fee, and a lot of free publicity decides her.

The next morning, she meets writer Belle Simone. Belle is a romance writer who is currently engaged in writing her first mystery. She wants Desiree to read it, but there’s a twist. She offers Desiree $24,940 if she can solve the mystery, given only three clues. The mystery hooks Desiree from the start, but she can’t help but be suspicious of Belle’s motives. Why pay such a large (and odd) sum of money to a stranger to solve a fictional murder?

Desiree is a very likeable character. She’s a widow in late middle age, possessed of “glorious hennaed hair” and a very normal figure. She loves her job, mysteries, and ice cream. The only time she’s not completely engaging is when she’s mooning over her erstwhile love, Nick. Not having read previous books, it’s entirely possible that I’m missing something in their relationship.

The construction of the mystery is interesting, a sort of book within a book, as Desiree reads Belle’s pages and attempts to solve each clue. It’s not hard to figure out whodunit; the fun is all in getting there.

Rating: 6 ½
May 2008
ISBN#978-0-451-22384-5 (paperback)


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