Signet, March 2003, 5.99, 272 pp.
She can really use a high profile, lofty fee case but when sixteen year old Vicki Pirelli comes to her office begging for help, New York Private Investigator Desiree Shapiro can't refuse her heartfelt request. Ten years ago her father was sent to prison for killing his mistress but after getting knifed by an inmate, he tells Vicky in a deathbed confession that he was innocent. Sometime between the moment he walked out following a fracas with his girlfriend and returned after taking a walk to cool his temper, someone sneaked into the apartment and killed her.
Vicky wants Desiree to clear her father's name and if at all possible find the person responsible. Desiree is so moved by Vicki's need that she takes the case even though she doesn't intend to bill the girl or the family who doesn't want old wounds reopened. Desiree finally manages to find the real perpetrator but she has no evidence and the culprit denies everything leaving the sweet private investigator stymied.
The protagonist of MURDER CAN BOTCH UP YOUR BIRTHDAY is short and pudgy but she is comfortable with herself and doesn't let other peoples' opinions of her bother her. Selma Eichler always writes a lighthearted, funny and upbeat private investigative novel where the heroine relies on brain power instead of violence to solve the crime. Watching Desiree in action is a treat not to be missed and the audience will look forward to reading more about this very special sleuth in the next installment of this long running series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner