No Way to Kill a Lady
Publisher: Penguin Group
Line: NAL Hardcover
Release Date: Aug 7, 2012
Retail Price: 23.95
For richer, for poorer...
Nora Blackbird, the Bucks County ex-debutante with a haute couture wardrobe, a hot job as a glamorous society columnist and a stone cold bank account, might finally have her own life just right, but everyone around her is going down in flames. Her sister Libby seems destined to be the lead character in a tabloid sex scandal. Her sister Emma is expecting a mysterious love child. Her best friend, Lexie Paine, is serving time in the slammer. And now her mobbed-up boyfriend, Mick Abruzzo—who might actually be her husband—is conducting clandestine capers from Blackbird Farm while under house arrest. What’s a good girl to do?
Find a killer, that’s what! Word arrives that the sisters’ great aunt, Madeleine Blackbird, has died in a volcanic eruption on an Indonesian island and left her fabulous country estate, worth millions, to the three of them. But when the Blackbird sisters show up to claim their windfall, they find the house in a state of disheartening decay and all of Madeleine’s to-die-for treasures gone. Worse, the mansion has been hiding a grisly secret: the body of a woman who died there many years ago. All the evidence points to a high society murder...
Nora’s special bond with flamboyant Aunt Madeleine compels her to seek out the truth. With her aunt’s amorous stepson dogging her footsteps, her unscrupulous lawyer acting like a skunk, and her devoted housekeeper not to be found, Nora’s investigation is going nowhere. Good thing Mick’s close by to offer Nora distractions both dark and delightful. And, as ever, her irrepressible sisters provide some unexpected... and highly unorthodox... assistance when she most needs it.
Series: Blackbird Sisters Mystery (Book 8)
For fans of: Rhys Bowen
When destitute debutante turned society columnist Nora Blackbird receives word that her rich, eccentric great-aunt Madeline died during a volcanic eruption in Indonesia – and what’s more, that she left her entire estate to Nora and her two sisters – she’s beyond shocked. But that shock is nothing compared to the jolt she receives when the trio visits Madeline’s mansion only to discover that the house has been ransacked and that all of Madeline's priceless artwork and antiques have gone missing. And then there's the small matter of the desiccated corpse they find hidden inside the elevator...
As soon as news of the sisters' discovery hits the wire, crazy rumors start swirling around the city regarding Madeline, the company she kept, and the life she led. Nora doesn't believe a word of it, but she can't deny that her great-aunt left behind a lot of unanswered questions. Can Nora help ID the dead body, clear Madeline's name, and recover the sisters' inheritance, or is this latest fiasco destined to put yet another ding in the once-respected Blackwood family name?
No Way to Kill a Lady is the eighth of Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. It’s the first I’ve read in the series, but I can guarantee it won’t be the last. No Way to Kill a Lady is an utterly fabulous and thoroughly engrossing read. The rapid-fire prose is elegant and intelligent and contains no small measure of snark. The plot is rich and multiply layered and features just the right blend of humor and drama. The mystery is intriguing and cleverly constructed and manages to share the stage with the other storylines that run through the book, complimenting them rather than stealing the spotlight.
Martin paints in Technicolor, especially when it comes to the beings who populate her series. Not only are her descriptions lush and vivid, but Martin quite simply understands people – how they think, how they talk, how they react, how they interact. Their unique rhythms, what makes them tick. What makes them human. And as a result, her cast isn’t made up of characters – it’s made up of people, and larger-than-life ones, at that.Nora’s more than just a fabulous leading lady – she’s a force of nature. Martin throws a lot at her in this book – physically, emotionally, and intellectually – and Nora handles it all with grace and aplomb. Nora’s boyfriend, semi-reformed mobster Michael, is at once funny, tough, and sweet, and his interactions with Nora and Nora’s sister Emma are incredibly compelling. And Nora’s oblivious, sex-starved older sister Libby makes for perfect comic relief. Nora’s little sister Emma, however, may be Martin’s crowning achievement. Emma’s always been tough as nails, but pregnancy has made her vulnerable, and her ex-boyfriend Hart’s impending marriage to another woman has her on the ropes. Watching her struggle with her feelings for Hart and the decision that needs to be made regarding their baby’s future is both gripping and heartbreaking. Emma’s a wonderfully nuanced character that steals every single scene in which she appears, and I, for one, can’t wait to read more about her in books to come
Reviewed by Kat N.
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