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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

What's a Girl Gotta Do?

What's a Girl Gotta Do? - Sparkle Hayter

(Book Reviews Forevermore recently reviewed this book - one I've had on my shelf for quite a few years and it inspired me to pull it off the shelf for a re-read.)

 

Robin Hudson is a TV journalist for an all-news network who, after a series of unfortunate mishaps, has been relegated to the Special Reports section working for the office sleaze, Jerry Spurdle.  She's in the midst of a divorce from a rival newsman who had an affair with her co-worker, but when she receives a phone call from an anonymous P.I. threatening to expose all the embarrassing information her co-workers don't already know about her, she agrees to show up to the company NYE party to receive instructions for buying his silence.  She never meets with the man because he's murdered before she gets the chance and circumstances make her look like a good suspect.

 

I tag this book cozy, but it isn't.  It's a murder mystery with a strong female character, edgy situations and language, but nothing explicitly violent or graphic.  Robin Hudson is a "rumpled Rita Hayworth" in looks, but still easily a woman other women can identify with; she balances competence with anxiety and an intimidating defensiveness with a genuine desire to do the right thing and be a nice person.  She grows poison ivy around all her windows and on top of all her valuables so if she's robbed, the police can identify the culprit by the rash they'll be sporting.  Robin is a great heroine.

 

Set in a gritty, 1980's NYC that feels incredibly authentic, the mystery is really well done.  Plenty of suspects and no telegraphing of the villain.  At least one red herring. This is a slower paced mystery than most of the ones I read today; I have cozies that have more "action" but the pace doesn't lag and the author knows and shares enough about the TV news industry that I never felt impatient to move the story along.

 

This is the first of 5 books in the Robin Hudson series and I'm glad I kept these on the shelf; I enjoyed this second read at least as much as I enjoyed it the first time and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a mystery that's just this side of cozy.