Friday, June 14, 2013

Murder Within Murder: Review

First off, this copy of Murder Within Murder by Frances & Richard Lockridge is an awesome book.  I'm not talking about the read yet--just the book.  I mean, look at that cover engraved with all sorts of murder weapons.  Is that not just perfect?  I'm so glad the hubby snagged this off of E-bay for one of my 2011 Christmas presents.

Oh, and the story itself is pretty darn good too.  But then I'm biased--I have a thing for the light and breezy novels penned by the Lockridge team.

Miss Amelia Gipson (that's with a "p" and NOT with a "b" as she would most emphatically point out) is very sure of herself.  She has a high standard of morals...which practically no one can meet.  Except Miss Amelia Gipson, of course.  And she loves to point out when someone she knows has fallen short of the mark.  She's an ex-teacher who probably never gave out an "A"--because there are no perfect students, you know.

Since retiring from the fictional Ward College (a girl's school in Indiana), she has moved to New York, taken an apartment, meddled in the lives of her niece and nephew (whose trust fund she administers), and signed up as a researcher for North Books.  Her current project is to track down info on several murder cases of the near-past (near to 1946, that is) to provide facts for the authors who will write the cases up for an up-coming North publication.  She winds up poisoned while sitting in the New York Public Library, hard at work on her note-taking.

Deputy Chief Inspector Artemus O'Malley, as usual, is hoping for a simple answer.  He's thinking suicide sounds really good.  After all, how could anybody get the retired teacher to down a dose of poison at the library?  But Lieutenant Bill Weigand is quick to discover Miss Gipson's ties to North Books--which, of course, means that Pam & Jerry North are going to involved.  And O'Malley's hopes for a simple case go out the window....because as Sergeant Mullins always says, when the Norths are involved, it always gets screwy.  Miss Gipson's notes soon prove to Weigand that it's a case of murder and not suicide, but there are still some pretty simple possibilities.

Gipson's niece and nephew both have reason to want their meddling, holier-than-thou auntie out of the way.  And then there's a former fellow teacher who lost his job because of Gipson's interference and who just happens to be in NYC now as well.  And there's also Gipson's long-time friend who wrote the victim a very odd letter just days before the murder.  A letter that says what Gipson's doing "isn't safe."  It could still turn out to be a nice, simple, easily explained little murder.

But Pam has other ideas.  She's just sure that Miss Gipson's research is the root of the problem.  That Miss Gipson discovered something new on one of the old murder cases and made things too hot for a murderer who had so far gone undetected.  Is Pam right?  Or will the clues lead her...and an ordinary murderer?

This book is a very good snapshot of New York City at the end of World War II.  The opening has Pam trying to "churn" her own butter (with an egg beater) because she's used up all her ration points.  There is also discussion of what life was like for the soldiers returning from the war.  Mix that with the humor of the Norths and the light and breezy tone and you have a winning combination.  Four stars.


Gypsi said...

Sounds great! I'm going to have to look up Frances & Richard Lockridge now.

Ryan said...

Sounds good and I agree, the cover is gorgeous.