Berkley, July 2004, 6.50, 320 pp.
Mystery author and staff writer for Daring Detective magazine Paige Turner is at work when Terence Catcher calls and asks her to meet him. She hesitates until he tells her that her late husband Bob, who died in Korea, was his best friend and he wants to tell her about his last days. When Paige arrives at the restaurant, Terry tells her how Bob gave him confidence when he was scared and lifted his spirits when he was depressed. He then goes on to explain that his sister was murdered in her apartment and the police think it was a robbery gone wrong and closed the case.
Terry is positive his sister's death had to do with the diamond jewelry hidden in a container of oatmeal. Paige tries to wiggle out of helping him because she knows her police officer boyfriend would be furious with her. In the end, she agrees to find the killer because Terry was Bob's friend. Asking questions and following clues results in Paige almost dying when someone throws her on the train tracks; her apartment is broken into; and a viable suspect is killed. If that is not traumatic enough, the killer shoots Paige as the perpetrator demands the amateur sleuth tell where the diamonds are located.
December 1954 in Manhattan is a trip down memory lane and Amanda Matetsky captures the ambience of the era to perfection. The heroine's friend Abby makes a perfect crime-solving partner and some of their adventures are funny. Readers will thoroughly enjoy MURDER IS A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND because of Paige, Abby, and 1950s New York.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner