Murder can kill your social life

Desiree Shapiro, #1

Desiree Shapiro, New York P.I. is no hard boiled shamus. She has dimples in her knees, elbows, and some unmentionable places. Desiree is a chubby gumshoe who has a mind as sharp as a Cuisinart and a queen size talent for sleuthing. Her heart is pretty big too, which is why she agrees to take the case of the poor grocery kid accused of killing the old lady in apartment 15D for the money stashed in her freezer.

Sure, the boy's fingerprints on the refrigerator make the problem sticky, but only until there's yet another murder in the same building. Before anyone can say Haagen-Dazs, Desiree bets she will be able to finger the real killer.

She's detoured by dinner with a bachelor, but he, unfortunately, turns into a suspect. So while her love life is chilling out, Desiree cooks up a scheme to trap a lean, mean, decidedly unsavory killer.

Review based on a re-read

I read this years ago and remember really liking it, but I think I loved it even more now. Absolutely wonderful and effortlessly amusing, this is a series I’ll definitely be continuing while crossing fingers it stays as good. Seriously the humor is quirky and made me laugh out often. Desiree has a fun outlook on life and she’s not one of those perfect heroines who has stellar IQ. She even admits embarrassment to missing the obvious sometimes.

Desiree is a down-to-earth and realistic sleuth with high sympathy and addiction to food. She indulges without apologies and admits to flaws and novice mode in investigations. This is her first murder assignment so she’s out of her league, but relies on some friends in the detective department who she of course pisses off. There are a few side character companions in Desiree’s ring that bring more life to the party.

Pacing is slower for a mystery but that’s fine. Desiree’s niece takes some scenes, including a bizarre love interest twist, but this kind of ties into Desiree’s vulnerabilities later. The pacing isn’t fast paced enough to make this a book that’s impossible to put down, but it’s such a fun thing.

The mystery leads Desiree back and forth through old fashioned detective motions like interviewing the same people after new facts are learned. It’s back to the basics but it works. There are several suspects who I wondered about, and the villain turned out to be a likable person who you kind of hated for it to be.

And of course COVER LOVE.