Death Was the Other Woman…by Linda L. Richards (2007)

Mystery, Historical Mystery                                                                                                                                                                                 

This is a book that sat on my for later shelf for a long time because I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. I thought it was a hard-boiled detective novel and I didn’t want to read an entire book as seen through the eyes of a boozy,weary and cynical Private Investigator . But this book has a twist. The narrator is a gently raised young lady who works for a boozy,weary and cynical P.I. 

 On October 29, 1929 Katherine  Pangborn is yanked out of Miss Beeson’s Finishing School for Young Ladies and told her father has committed suicide and  she is poor. Good-bye. She needs to find a job but her skills include  flower arranging and planning dinner parties.  She meets a man named Mustard, while pawning her late mother’s jewelry, and he sets her up as a secretary for P.I. Dexter Theroux.

Two years later she is Still working for Dex, clacking the typewriter to look busy, when a Client walks through the door.  And then the adventure begins.

Katherine is just the right mix of Finishing school proper and street smarts. And she is more of a baby-sitter than a secretary since her boss’s alcoholism leaves him unreliable.  Yet he is  sympathetic and likable character even though he is trying to drown his memories of WWI in a bottle. The demons he must face from the trenches in France are unimaginable.

This is so NOT a hard-boiled detective story that I think fans of traditional crime noir would be disappointed.  This isn’t gritty and there is no sex (explicit or implied). It would probably be more appropriate for fans of the cozy mysteries.

I loved it and hope to read the sequel soon.

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Filed under General fiction, historical fiction, Historical mysteries, Mysteries, Mysterious Ladies, mystery fiction

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