A Double Scoop of Detection
Selma Eichler: Murder Can Singe Your Old Flame
Selma Eichler again brings Desiree to life in Murder Can Singe Your Old Flame. This time the "plumpish" private investigator faces the difficult choice of clearing out-of-favor ex-beau Bruce of a murder charge or eating a double portion of Haagen Daz. No problem for Desiree, she does both.
Cajoled into action, Desiree investigates the death of Bruce's wife, Cheryl, a former airline attendant. Bruce had been officially engaged to Cheryl when he dated Desiree, which is one of the reasons Desiree thinks so poorly of him. Nevertheless, Desiree is convinced of Bruce's innocence. Maybe this was because she cried after interviewing him. But no, she also cried at a supermarket opening, so that probably doesn't count.
The only clue to Cheryl's killer comes from Bruce. Bruce claimed Cheryl was worried that one of her airline colleagues was smuggling. In spite of Bruce's past of total honesty (ahem), the police refuse to believe him. This leaves Desiree the icky job of untangling Bruce and Cheryl's domestic life and finding the real killer.
Shapiro loses no time in introducing three suspects: Donna, a struggling single mother for whom a pretty penny would be welcome; Hank, a kind-hearted guy still recovering from a devastating break up; and Laura, the socialite who would love to enjoy the finer things in life.
By interviewing the suspects, Desiree slowly reveals the details of the smuggling plot and the identity of the killer. She risks her own life until the police believe her.
A kind of 'bare bones" mystery, Murder Can Singe Your Old Flame doesn't waste much time fleshing out the story. Readers entering the series mid-stream will find no detailed biopics. We learn just enough of what's happening beyond the investigation to get acquainted with Desiree. Other characters remain vague. This lack of color made the novel less attractive to this reader (hence the low rating), though others might prefer this short, clipped style.
Then again when you see so much Haagen Daz and honey cake scattered about, finding the killer is really just a second-rate plus.
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