A light-hearted romp through murder and mayhem is just thing on a Saturday afternoon.
“Is It Still Murder Even If She Was A Bitch?” by Robin Leemann Donovan begins with the cleverest title for a murder mystery and delivers a fun romp through a murder investigation with sleuth Donna Leigh, a menopausal ad exec who describes herself “about as subtle as a Rolls Royce in the Wal Mart parking lot.” Donna Leigh inserts herself into the investigation of the death of an unlikable former colleague when she fears the police might finger her for the crime. Chaos ensues.
My mother is a bigger fan of detective fiction than I am, but I thought this book might be a light way to while away some time while my Beloved watched episodes of “American Pickers.”
Donovan, the author of the humor blog Menologues, creates a likeable protagonist who copes with food cravings, memory lapses, an all-black wardrobe and hot flashes as much as she handles colorful suspects, including a narcissistic gypsy, a female wrestler and a crazy author stuck in the ’50s. She reminded me a little of an extroverted friend of mine with a short attention span and a compulsion to figure out what makes people tick.
Can Donna save the day and find the killer or will she find herself just another target of the killer who threatens her with Post-It notes scrawled with “Snoops die”?
I wish the “bitch” who was bludgeoned wasn’t a mother killed outside of a Boy Scout dinner, and I struggled with the way the dialogue was punctuated and the bevy of characters whose name started with “C” (Claire, Clovis, Cindy, Clarke), but those are niggles. I appreciated the whodunit suspense and Donovan’s references to the advertising world: “The highlight of my whole day was the jerk who called to say he was from Coke. … Hmmph, thought he could pass himself off as a Coke guy — doesn’t he know I read Ad Age?” and “My face turned about eight different shades of red — I’m guessing it hit about a Pantone 185 Red.”
The ending is as farcical as the investigative tactics so “Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch” is slapstick that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Perfect for a perfectly peaceful weekend afternoon.