Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pumped for Murder--Elaine Viets

Pumped for Murder
Elaine Viets
Obsidian, May 3 2011, $23.95
ISBN: 9780451233202

After settling most of her legal problems in St. Louis, Helen Hawthorne reclaims her identity and marries her lover Phil. They met when both rented apartments in the Coronado Tropic Complex. They also decide to open up their own private investigative firm with an office in one of the apartments they are leasing thanks to a landlady who believes in them so only charges them a fee of $1 per year for the rental.

After recommendations from their neighbors, two clients hire them. Gus the car mechanic thinks someone years ago murdered his brother although the police ruled his death a suicide. Shelby wants them to determine whether her husband is cheating on her at Fantastic Fitness where he spends most of his time. Helen obtains a dead end job as a receptionist at Fantastic Fitness. While she never sees her client’s husband philandering with women, she sees a lot of illegal activity including steroid use by body building competitors. One of the women training for a competition is murdered and a bull-headed cop abuses an elderly and the timid woman and then arrests her.. Helen vows to find the real killer while she and Phil work on satisfying their paying customers.

Phil a licensed P.I trains his wife so she can also be certified as their professional and personal relation adds a new dimension to the long running Dead-End Job mystery (see Killer Cuts and Clubbed to Death). The two paying cases and the third unofficial inquiry are filled with action as the fascinating cases rotate prime focus. Elaine Viets provides another great mystery worth reading as even with her name cleared; the heroine ends up working a dead-end job; albeit undercover.

Harriet Klausner

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