FIRST Sentence: There are times when the shadow on the terrace seemed to take on the shape of a woman’s body flung down, left in its blood and beauty.
What it’s ABOUT: From the book blurb, inside cover:
Susan had known Marcus all her life; she married him after his first wife had fallen from their glamorous penthouse. Then Marcus died the same way. . . Susan found she hadn’t really known him at all. Murder lurked in the very walls around her, and slowly she came to realize that she was the next victim.
WHY I read this, now: Best I explain that I have had this book in my possession for a few years. I ‘borrowed’ it (or rescued, whicheveryouprefer) from the nursing home where I was Volunteer/Technology-Trainer/Human-half-of-Pet-Therapy-Team/Adhoc-Library-Curator. I was tasked with throwing away!!! a bunch of books to make room for NEW books donated. I ended up giving the discards to another nursing home but kept a few that I really wanted to read. This was one of them for some reason – we had quite a collection of Eberharts and I was intrigued. Then this RIP X was announced and since it was on my shelf, waa laa.
What’s GOOD: Well, I certainly was intrigued by the mystery! I was also amused by the life in NYC in the 60s and obvious privilege of the characters which was never really mentioned but felt. Penthouse, gloves, lots and lots of smoking, — if I had actually watched any Mad Men, I would have to say it was that. Someone who knows NYC would probably get a kick out of the location. The penthouse was not too far from Central Park (“across Madison and Fifth Avenues she could see the thin young greens of Central Park“, p. 19) and they had elevator men plus door men. So, swanky? or just 60s swanky? I dunno – not my world.
What is also good about this book is that it really wasn’t written very well. (you’re asking, ‘huh?’ wait! stay with me…) THUS, I wondered if I could do better. You know a book is really good when you read it and KNOW that you never ever ever could be a writer cuz, um WOW. Right? so when a book comes along that has been published and has had reasonably nice things said about it, you gotta wonder, could I write a book? (yes, I am called to the lifestyle of authors – just don’t think I really have any stories in me… Could always be wrong, of course, and maybe this year is my NANOWRIMO?)
What’s NOT so good: Yea, well, it really had some holes and much lack of that something that makes a decent book. A few sentence fragments. Characters were NOT fleshed out. AND that fact that the very first sentence starts with “THERE ARE __”. I mean, really. Who gets away with that?! (I must have had a very mean English teacher rap me on the knuckles for writing ANY sentence with the word ‘there’.) ((Fact: No teacher rapped me on the knuckles – I had excellent English teachers.))
FINAL thoughts: Shall I just go ahead and spoil it? Our dear protagonist Susan lives to finally run away with the man of her dreams. Bad guy gets caught. Happy ending. Awwwww. It really wasn’t a horrible read. I thought it rather amusing and like a comfort read – a cozy mystery maybe? I don’t have enough experience with those…
Still, it got me thinking… What IF you thought your fiance had died in the war but showed up a few months AFTER you married that older handsome charming dude that was nice to you. And really rich. Do you ask for a divorce to marry your ONE TRUE LOVE? or say, “oh well, so sad, too late, buck up.” THAT is your writing prompt. Ready? GO!
RATING: THREE STARS (and no pie reference.)