Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Dial Me for Murder by Amanda Matetsky

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Dial Me for Murder by Amanda Matetsky. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Dial Me for Murder by Amanda Matetsky

Dial Me for Murder by
A Paige Turner Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22050-8 (0425220508)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22050-4 (9780425220504)
Publication Date: September 2008
List Price: $6.99

Review: Amanda Matetsky's fifth book in the Paige Turner mystery series, Dial Me for Murder, has the 1950's era investigative reporter searching for the killer of a young woman found murdered in Central Park.

Paige works for the popular true crime magazine Daring Detective and is the only female reporter in all of Manhattan. In her pursuit of crime stories, she has occasionally been brought face-to-face with some of the city's most dangerous criminals and in a number of cases has outwitted the police in solving murders. The authorities rarely like to be upstaged, especially by a woman, and find Paige a nuisance as well as a profound embarrassment. On Wednesday morning, October 5, 1955, in bold print on page 5, the New York Tribune reported that a young unmarried secretary named Virginia Pratt had been killed Monday night, her nude body found under a mound of leaves in Central Park. Although Paige wants to cover the story, it is assigned to another reporter by her editor. Before noon, however, Paige receives a call asking her to come to the home of Sabrina Stanhope, in upscale Gramercy Park. Sabrina, she learns, is a madam of high priced call girls and Virginia was one of her dearest and most expensive girls. Virginia, known to her Johns as “Melody”, was the choice of three of New York’s wealthiest, most famous gentlemen. Sabrina is convinced that one of the men killed her. Now, if Paige would agree to tell no one, including her fiancé, Detective Sergeant Dan Street, about her proposed investigation, plus agree to write nothing about it in the magazine, Sabrina would hire Paige, paying her handsomely, to find Virginia's killer before the police do. This, of course, would jeopardize her job with the magazine and her relationship with Dan, not to mention the potential danger it would put her in.

Readers of this delightful book who didn't live during the 1950s will likely fail to fully appreciate the humor displayed in the use of many of the expressions. For those who did it will bring back pleasant memories. The historical perspective is well done and the period depictions of the city make for a wonderful, atmospheric backdrop. With the plot being a nice blend of subtle comedy and light mystery, Dial Me for Murder will keep the reader engaged in the story and guessing until the very end.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Dial Me for Murder and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Paige Turner’s skills as a true crime reporter for Daring Detective magazine have earned her an intriguing job opportunity. Sabrina Stanhope of Gramercy Park wants her to look into the murder of Virginia Pratt—a young secretary whose naked body was found bound and gagged under a pile of autumn leaves in Central Park. Sabrina wants the murderer exposed, but she insists that Paige keep her exclusive investigation off the record and out of the pages of Daring Detective. Why the need for such secrecy? Because Virginia was more than a secretary—she worked nights as a high priced call girl in Sabrina’s employ. Should word get out, the resulting scandal would be devastating, not only to Sabrina’s hush-hush enterprise, but to some of Manhattan’s wealthiest movers and shakers. Now, Paige must become a daring detective herself—even though it means going undercover to entice the interest of a sadistic killer ...

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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