Nora Blackbird's parents left the US for a sunny, tax evaders resort leaving Nora's sister Emma with the art collection and her other sister Libby with the furniture collection. All Nora gets is the property that has been in her family for generations - and a two million dollar tax bill. For the first time in her life, Nora, a former socialite, is forced to *gasp* work. Rory, an old friend of the family who owns a Philadelphia newspaper takes pity on her and hires her as a society page columnist. This is not quite as much fun as it could have been because Kitty, the reigning queen of the society column, believes that Nora is trying to take over her job and gives her all of the bad assignments - like the opening of the monster truck dealership on land that Nora was forced to sell. I mean, its bad enough that Nora sold land that had been in her family for generations, but she sold it to the son of a rumored New Jersey crime boss who sells trucks!
To top off her day, Nora discovers the body of her employer and family friend at a party that evening. Nora quickly realizes that the police are out of their depth when it comes to dealing with high society and tries her best to help them out. However, she keeps getting distracted by her flaky sisters and their problems, a slimy art dealer, and the bone-melting come ons she can barely resist from Abruzzo, the suspected crime boss...
First of all, in case the synopsis didn't tip you off, this book is not for the hard-core mystery lover. It is kind of a cross between a romance and a mystery novel and fits quite neatly into the "mystery cozy" genre. This is a fun, fast read for those who enjoy their mysteries filled with comments about clothes, food, romance, socialites, art and weird families. Nancy Martin has a nice, smooth writing style and the plot unfolds nicely. I also loved her characters. I mean, where else do you find a reclusive billionaire who collects erotic art, a brother-in-law who dresses up in full Confederate regalia for formal occasions, two flaky, funny sisters, a baby-faced detective who is a lot sharper than he seems, and hosts of other entertaining characters.
This report prepared by Debbie
Signet, Oct 2002, 6.50, 272 pp.
Nora Blackbird is Philadelphia Mainline. However, she and her sisters are hardly rich since her parents squandered the family fortune and left town to avoid getting arrested for failing to pay taxes. Her older sister inherited the Blackbird art collection, while the younger sister got the Blackbird antique furniture. Poor Nora got the Bucks County farm and a tax bill of two million dollars.
She sells five acres of the property to Michael Abruzzo who uses the land to expand Mick's Muscle Cars. If he wasn't such a sexy studmuffin, Nora would cry. She also uses her connection to newspaper owner Rory Pendergart to land a job as a society columnist at the Intelligencer. When she's invited to Rory's house for a party she comes across his murdered body and decides to do some snooping to see if she can ferret out the killer. Because of her society connections the police encourage her but Nora doesn't realize the danger she's placing herself in from a killer whom would murder again to keep his crimes secret.
Nancy Martin gives her audience a scenic tour of the different Philadelphia neighborhoods that makes them appealing enough so that reader will want to visit them. The heroine is an adorable eccentric who is always on the verge of fainting when life gets too stressful though why she would turn to sleuthing with that problem seems questionable. The plethora of suspects will keep readers turning the pages until they find out who done it and why. HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE is a book that amateur sleuth readers will want to have as a series, especially if the star is the delightful heroine.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner