Avon, Oct 2003, 6.99, 276 pp.
Fully tenured professor Bel Barret is giving a Faculty Development Seminar to new teachers on how to cope with their new students. At same time she is organizing the neighborhood block party and helping Sol, her significant other, cope with post-traumatic stress syndrome after seeing the World Trade Towers destroyed. Finally, she along with new neighborhood resident Eunice and two other neighbors, decide who is going to be awarded this year's scholarship for a semester at River Edge Community College in Jersey City.
Not too long after the block party, Eunice who moonlights as a stripper, is murdered. The police are looking at the nineteen-year-old student who didn't win the scholarship as a viable suspect. Sol wants Bel to figure out who the real killer is, as does the Dean of RECC and she gladly accommodates them because she doesn't want to see her young neighbor go to prison.
Most of HOT AND BOTHERED takes place in Hoboken, NJ one month after the events of Sept 11th and the people of that city can see where the two towers used to be. It affects everyone in a deep way but they all feel isolated and fearful. The heroine, who is in the process of major home repairs, does not want to leave the area and move to a quiet and isolated village as Sol keeps urging her to do. The investigation she conducts keeps her mind off her personal worries and involves her in something that she loves doing. Jane Isenberg knows how to write an excellent amateur sleuth novel with so many red herrings that reader will actually be totally shocked when the killer's identity is revealed.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner