I have ‘emergency books’ stashed all over the place including my car glove box, an un-used backpack pocket and my desk drawer at work. I can cope with any amount of unexpected heavy-duty waiting if I have something to read. This week I relied on the emergency book in a small pocket of my laptop bag to get me through several hours I hadn’t planned to spend in a waiting room.
How to Murder a Millionaire is the first novel in what has become a series of seven (to date) featuring three formerly well-to-do sisters whose parents left them with huge debts before jetting off to a tax haven in the Caribbean. Nora, Emma and Libby Blackbird have also each been widowed (though Libby is re-married). Facing a 2 million dollar tax bill on the farm she inherited from her parents Nora seeks help from and old family friend Rory Pendergast. He gives her a job on the society pages of the Philadelphia paper he owns but she gets more than she bargains for when she attends one of his functions and finds him dead.
This is a fairly run-of-the mill cosy which seems to be trying a bit too hard to be quirky and, for me anyway, it fell a little short of that mark. All of the people surrounding the sisters were just a bit too over the top to be credible and too one-dimensional to be interesting: Libby’s husband too obsessed with the Civil War, Nora’s boss too paranoid about Nora potentially being in line for her job and almost everyone else too obsessed with erotic art. I didn’t find any of them particularly engaging.
The story held together well enough and I didn’t pick the culprit until slightly before the big reveal. However I found the shenanigans of people who spend the equivalent of a small country’s GDP on a party a bit hard to maintain an interest in. I also found it a bit ludicrous that the detective assigned to the murder case was so willing to enlist the help of Nora, who he’d never met before. I know that kind of thing used to happen to Jessica Fletcher all the time but she was at least famous for being an amateur sleuth.
How to Marry a Millionaire is a light, fun read and I would recommend it for fans of the early Janet Evanovich novels and those who like their mysteries mixed with romance.
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My rating 2.5/5
Publisher: Signet ; ISBN: 0451207246 Length: 254 pages Setting Philadelphia, USA, present-day
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