Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: A Little Night Murder, by Nancy Martin

A Little Night Murder, by Nancy Martin
Series: A Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #10
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Obsidian (Penguin/NAL)
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Hardcover: 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0451415271 
eBook File Size: 1029 KB
Purchase Links:  Amazon  Kindle  Nook

I read a really good book recently, y'all. Let me tell you a little about it.

Synopsis, from Goodreads:

Murder under the stars... 

Nora Blackbird—pregnant at last!—is spending summer afternoons wallowing in the Bucks County pool of her best friend, Lexie Paine, who has just been released from prison. At night, Nora is covering Philadelphia’s high-society events for the local newspaper. And this time she doesn't have to look far for a good story.

Next door, a Broadway show is in rehearsal at the estate of Toodles Tuttle, the long-deceased but ever-legendary composer. Reigning over the estate is Toodles’s diva widow, Boom Boom. The demanding old broad still rules with an iron fist, and considering the chorus line of enemies she’s racked up over the years, her death has been a hotly anticipated event. So imagine everyone’s dismay when it’s her beloved daughter, Jenny, who drops dead—from a cause that is anything but natural—just as the lights are set to go on for the lucrative new Toodles musical.

Yet murder is only an overture to the drama to come.... 

Nora’s sister Libby, a soon-to-be-grandmother, has gotten herself into a sticky situation, wooed by both a lowly bug exterminator and a cheesecake-loving Broadway impresario. Edgy sister Emma has a dangerous new boyfriend who may jeopardize her show-jumping exploits. And the love of Nora’s life, Mick Abruzzo, has been desperate to prevent Nora from meeting the most notorious member of his mobbed-up family—his mother.

Now Nora has to deal with the bump-and-grind of her personal life, and also bring the curtain down on a daring killer—before he forces her to exit stage left, permanently.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love A Little Night Murder, by author Nancy Martin!  It's the 10th Blackbird Sisters book, and the best one yet!  The only negative thing I can say about it is that I have to wait too long to read the next book in the series.  Hurry up, Nancy!  We want the 11th book!!

A Little Night Murder, and the other books in the series, are set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia's Main Line.  The book is exciting and fast-paced,  so much so that I didn't want to put it down even when I had to.  Author Nancy Martin has filled this book and the rest of the series with richly drawn, believable, and likable characters.  If there were no mysteries to be solved, I would still read and enjoy these books as Chick Lit, because the characters are so interesting and/or quirky, and can get into such wacky situations.      

My favorite characters are all present — the always-fun sisters, Nora, Libby, and Emma, and Nora's hunky honey, Michael (aka Mick).  I was glad to see other familiar faces also; Libby's children, especially Rawlins, Lucy, and Max; Lexie Paine, last seen leaving for prison at the end of Book #7; party planner Delilah Fairweather; and Mr Twinkles. A few characters introduced in the last book, Little Black Book of Murder, are back; Ralphie (who must weigh at least 500 lbs now, and yet 8-year-old Lucy wants to play Pirates with him!); state trooper Ricci; Emma's son Noah; and Nora's boss, Gus Hardwicke.  Michael's mother, Bridget O'Halloran, makes a memorable first (hopefully not last) appearance in this book.

Most of the aforementioned characters are present in the book's climactic scenes.  A few of them have crucial roles.  You'll never guess who comes swooping in to rescue Nora!  And you'll really never guess who almost causes the Blackbird Curse to come true once again — the curse which turns Blackbird wives into Blackbird widows. 

A Little Night Murder has a great opening paragraph: 
As I waited in the frigid backseat of a limousine, watching the front gate of a women's prison on an otherwise beautiful July afternoon, I wondered if I could tap politely on the door and ask the warden to please incarcerate my sister. Just for a few days of peace and quiet.

Other spoiler-free passages I especially like:
•  I looked into the yawning rear cavern of the SUV. He had already strapped one baby car seat in place. I said, "We're having a family, not transporting a platoon."
"It's really safe," he insisted. "It'll survive a crash test with a train."
"Are you thinking of crashing into a train?"

•  I went out onto the back porch and was confronted by Libby's eight-year-old daughter, Lucy. She was barefoot and wearing a bathing suit and had an army surplus gas mask over her face. Nothing new, in other words. Her blond curls stuck out from under the straps of the mask. Her knees were covered with Band-Aids, and she held a sparkly magic wand in her hand, gripping it like a sword.

•  ".... You got any Twizzlers?"
"Twizzlers? You mean, the candy?"
"Yeah, there's nothing like a Twizzler first thing in the morning. That, or a quickie. You have any? Twizzlers, I mean?"

•  Due to my dire financial straits, I had been forced to dig into my sister Libby's collection of hand-me-down maternity clothes.... Libby's taste ran to gaudy items with funny sayings printed on them.  
These sayings are on the shirts Nora wears during the course of A Little Night Murder.
  • I DELIVER. (It's bright green, with black polka dots. "I looked dangerously like a watermelon.  ....  Michael was unable to stop himself from laughing at my shirt.") 

I love A Little Night Murder, and recommend it to all Cozy Mystery fans, especially those who are also fans of Chick Lit.  A Little Night Murder, by Nancy Martin, has earned the top rating of Five Kitties from Jane Reads!  


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