Avon, Nov 2004, 6.99, 336 pp.
Tenured Professor Bel Barrett carries a full load of classes at the River Edge Community College in Jersey City, but she takes on even more work when she intervenes to teach a memoir writing class at the Senior Center. Her live-in-lover Sol wants her to set a wedding date and start making plans but Bel finds herself putting him off because the thought of planning a wedding exhausts her. As a post-menopause woman, Bel has stopped using estrogen and has trouble maintaining bladder control.
While she deals with all these demands, a student in her class Flora Tomaselli tells Bel that fellow student Dom is dead. He went up to the roof in his pajamas, fell down, and froze to death. Flora also thinks her father was murdered by her uncle Emilio who owed him a large sum of money and wants Bel to prove it. Bel who always comes alive during criminal investigations agrees but Emilio has an airtight alibi and there are suspects closer to home.
Bel Barrett does for Hoboken what Stephanie Plum does for Trenton. This is an upbeat amateur sleuth tale in which the major characters are in their fifties.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner