Monday, July 28, 2008

Dial Me for Murder-Amanda Matetsky

Dial Me for Murder
Amanda Matetsky
Berkley, Sep 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425220504

At a time when most women stayed home to take care of their husband and kids, Paige Turner broke the gender barrier by becoming the first female True Crime writer at Daring Detective magazine. The men in the office make her life there miserable, but her stories have increased circulation so her editor gives her freedom to cover what she wants. She becomes interested in the case of Virginia Pruitt whose nude body was found in Central Park alongside expensive jewelry and a fur coat. Sabrina Stanhope asks Paige to solve Virginia’s murder.

Curious, Paige visits Sabrina who informs her that Virginia worked as a secretary during the day and a call girl at night. She also admits she was Virginia’s Madame arranging “dates” for Melody, as the victim was known professionally. Three customers used Melody’s services with Paige stunned that the Manhattan D.A. is one of them; mob connected singer and movie star Tony Morona is the second; the third man is the real stunner as Oliver Rice Harrington is her boss’ boss. Paige investigates all three men until a leak leads to her being fired even as she finds a second murdered call girl. As she gets closer to uncovering the identity of the culprit, she almost gets killed doing so.

Occurring in the 1950s, readers obtain an interesting look at an era when women are moving away from the assembly lines of WWII and back into running households; in some ways this feels like ancient history as Amanda Matetsky brings the Ike age alive. DIAL ME FOR MURDER is actually an exciting historical journalistic investigative tale starring a brave reporter used to being treated like a pariah for doing her job; so jumping into trouble is the heroine’s norm as that is life in the office. Filled with humor and insight from a zany cast that affirms we’ve come a long way since the days when the only acceptable professions for women were female unique jobs like wife, nurse, secretary and hooker inside a fun whodunit.

Harriet Klausner