How To Succeed in Murder by Margaret Dumas

May 30, 2006
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How To Succeed in Murder
Margaret Dumas

Poisoned Pen Press
May 2006
Hardcover/0 pages
ISBN: 1-59058-260-8
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"If you like your murder mysteries cooked up with a dash of fun, How To Succeed in Murder will be just what you ordered."

"Dumas knows her city well… you?ll recognize and appreciate the author?s eye for the right detail (and weather) at the right moment."

"The subplots are as much fun as the question of who murdered Chen and why."

What do you get when you mix a high tech murder with a high maintenance San Francisco heiress whose new hubby Jack is a private investigator? You get How To Succeed in Murder, Margaret Dumas’s new Charley Fairfax mystery.

Charley inherited “a couple of a zillion dollars” when her parents died years before. She runs and funds the Rep, a nonprofit theatre company. But she and her friends – university professor Brenda, finance whiz Eileen, and flamboyant actor Simon – can’t help but stick their noses where they don’t belong. When Carla Chen, fiancé and key employee of Morgan Stokes, a Bill Gates-like Internet wizard, turns up dead Charley and her friends feel they can’t leave the investigating to Jack’s company.

When the gang, posing as management consultants, goes undercover at Stokes’s company, there’s plenty of meandering as well as further murder and mayhem. The subplots are as much fun as the question of who murdered Chen and why. Will Charley ever buy a piece of furniture for her new Pacific Heights mansion? Are Brenda and Charley’s annoying Uncle Harry an item? Who on earth is Flank, the peculiarly endearing bodyguard, Uncle Harry insists shadow Charley at every turn? And how will Charley and Jack ever get anything done when they fall into their only piece of furniture – a bed – at every opportunity?

San Francisco is a character in the story, too. Dumas knows her city well. Whether Charley is having lunch at the SFMOMA café (menu included) or getting shot at in the Broadway Tunnel or at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, you’ll recognize and appreciate the author’s eye for the right detail (and weather) at the right moment.

Unlike her stellar supporting cast, Charley, with her focus on designer clothes and Jack’s good looks, is an occasionally tiresome sleuth. But Dumas gives her a singular voice that encourages the reader’s forgiveness again and again. If you like your murder mysteries cooked up with a dash of fun, How To Succeed in Murder will be just what you ordered.

Reviewer: Lisa Lenard-Cook

 

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