Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders

Minotaur Books, 288 pages, $24.99

Engaging character (a book editor). Check. Great location (London). Check. Witty dialogue. Check. Funny bits. Check. 

Sam(antha) Clair is a “middle-aged, middling-ly successful editor.” Breda, Sam’s most famous author, writes “women’s books.” After regularly producing a predictable book (and bestseller) each year, she offers something different. And Sam hates it. Her assistant, Miranda, hates it. How do you tell your bread-and-butter that her book sucks?

While Sam is pondering the imponderable, she is cheered by her friend (and client), Kit Lovell. Kit is a fashion journalist and he has brought her a book alleging the murder of a famous couturier, Rodgrigo Alemán, and criminal activity at Alemán’s company. Since Alemán’s death was ruled accidental, Sam is concerned that Kit’s evidence adequately supports his charges. Kit says it’s in the bag. Unfortunately, the bag disappears with Kit.

When Sam tries to interest CID Inspector Jacob Field, who has come to see Sam on an entirely different matter, in the (perhaps) disappearance of her friend, he blows her off. By the time Sam manages to convince Jake (yes, he soon becomes “Jake”) that something may be amiss in fashionland, other people have become involved in what might be an international scandal.

Helena Clair, Sam’s powerhouse attorney mother, however maternal she may not be, is willing to put her mighty brains and knowledge of corporate shenanigans at Sam’s disposal. With the help of other acquaintances, Sam slowly gathers information about Kit and about the fashion scandal. But will it help her find Kit?

And what is she going to do about Breda?

Knowledgeable about the publishing business and gossipy about what goes on behind-the-scenes. Articulate and funny. A touch convoluted in the plot but satisfying, nevertheless. Happy to love Sam Clair. Hope she survives to wield her pen another day.

MBTB star!

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