Too Rich and Too Dead
Bantam, Mar 24 2009, $6.99
Fortyish Widow Mallory Marlowe has not felt the empty nest syndrome with her two children away at college because of her work as a travel reporter for Good Life magazine. When she reads in the paper about the success of an acquaintance from her student days at JFK HS, she suggests to her boss Trevor Price, an article on what to do in Aspen if you do not ski. She will also try to obtain an interview with her former classmate Carly Cassidy Berman, creator of ReJuva Juice and owner of the high class Tavaci Springs Spa.
In Aspen she calls Carly who invites Mallory to dinner with her, her spouse Brett and has been Hollywood director Gordon Swig. The next day Mallory attends a pitch given by Carly. Soon afterward, spa accountant Harriet Vosci finds her employer dead. Brett has an alibi provided to him by statuesque city PR beauty Astrid Norland who insists he spent the night with her. The police find evidence that makes Harriet the prime suspect. A desperate Harriet asks Mallory to prove her innocence, but the reluctant amateur sleuth keeps finding proof the accountant killed Carly.
Putting aside the obvious of Harriet asking an amateur instead of hiring a professional with a murder rap hanging over her or a lawyer to deal with her issues with Carly, fans will enjoy the latest “Murder Packs A Suitcase” mystery (see REIGNING CATS AND DOGS). The support cast is solid and Aspen comes across as being more than just a wealthy ski resort; in fact much of the first half of the tale focuses as an engaging travelogue. Amateur sleuth fans will enjoy Mallory’s investigation into the city and the murder of her high school acquaintance with a hint of romance in the mountainous air.