Monday, January 2, 2012
Murder Has Its Points: Review
One down, only 199 more to go--if I'm to meet my Goodreads goal for this year. This also counts for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Cruisin' Through the Cozies, 150+, Mixing It Up, and Off the Shelf.
I thought I'd start things off nice and light and cozy with a trip to New York City in the late 50s/early 60s and drop in on Pam and Jerry North and see what they're up to. In Murder Has Its Points by Richard and Frances Lockridge, the Norths are embroiled in another murder investigation when one of Jerry's star authors is killed by an apparent sniper shot after a publicity party. Only...maybe it wasn't a sniper after all. Sure, the city has had a rash of such shootings over the past few weeks, but it does seem odd that Anthony Payne just happened to have a whole lineup of people who would have loved for him to drop dead. In fact, a few of them mentioned what a fine idea that would be while supposedly celebrating his success at the party. And then, of course, he did...drop dead, that is.
It's not long after that Pam has visits from from various "well-wishing" party-goers who seem to be brimming with information that she might pass on to her "nice policeman." Pam's quicksilver brain begins working furiously while her nice policeman, Captain Bill Weigand, goes round to see if there is any reason to believe that this wasn't just another sniper shooting. And not too long after that Pam is off "sticking her neck out" as Jerry and Bill call it, trying to help one of her "lame dogs"--a suspect in trouble who she believes to be innocent. It all winds up with Pam and a group of suspects in a lonely house in the country. Someone gets shot, someone gets framed and Bill, Jerry, and the troops arrive just in time for the grand finale.
As always, the Lockridges provide a nice, breezy little mystery. Sure, it may be a bit much to believe that one couple (and particularly the female half of the couple) could wind up involved in so many murders (Jessica Fletcher, anyone?), but a little suspension of disbelief never hurt anyone. Especially when it's so much fun. I love slipping into an earlier time when there are taxis waiting on every corner, special restaurants serving the perfect martinis, and small publishing firms like North Books. I also enjoy the way the Lockridges work the Siamese cats into their stories. They write about the cats with just enough humor to make it fun, without making it too cute. Four stars.
Criminal investigation has been loosely compared to many things, including the putting together of a jigsaw puzzle. It is seldom that simple. The pieces of such a puzzle are of a fixed shape, immutable. Men and women change shape when touched. (p. 111)
"Lame dogs over stiles," Jerry would say--had so often had occasion to say. "Show Pam a lame dog," he had told Bill Weigand once, "and she'll find a stile to help it over. H---, she'll build one. And sly dogs begin to limp when they see her." (p. 134)
Bev's Book Stats
Original Pub Date: 1961; reprint 1984
Paperback: 221 pages