Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder-Mary Jane Maffini

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder
Mary Jane Maffini
Berkley, Apr 5 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425240601

A 911 emergency telephone operator, Mona Pringle places her own emergency call to professional organizer Charlotte Adams. Apparently Serena Redding has returned to town, which terrorizes Mona, who was a victim of the woman’s bullying back in high school. Mona comments she would love to kill her tormentor, but Charlotte assumes nothing with the passing whimsical comment.

That changes when another victim of Serena and her gang is killed in a deliberate hit and run, and two of the bullies are murdered. Charlotte wonders if Mona became deranged from her fear and embarked on a killing spree, or has been so frightened she vanished.

The latest Charlotte Adams amateur sleuth (see Closet Confidential and Death Loves A Messy Desk) as the events organizer balances her business, her canines and Mona’s lament. Charlotte is terrific as she goes from the irony of an emergency call from a 911 operator to her fears that Mona went over the edge. Filled with red herrings and false clues disguising real leads, fans will enjoy this breezy yet insightful look at the adults several years after a youthful bullying relationship.

Harriet Klausner

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