Friday, March 16

Murder...Suicide...Whatever... by Gwen Freeman

Review by Theodore Feit


Fifi Cutter, half black, half white, makes her debut in this novel, along with her Caucasian half-brother, Bosco, and the publisher hints they will reappear in the future.  They are a couple of characters.  She is an insurance adjuster who lives in an inherited house with no furniture.  He is a ne'er-do-well drifter and sponger.


When Bosco turns up on Fifi's doorstep after a hiatus of five years, he presents her with a potential murder investigation, one for which neither is qualified.  It seems "Uncle" Ted Hefferman was found in his office, supposedly dead of a heart attack, but one of his co-workers is convinced he was murdered so the firm could collect $5 million in key man insurance, sorely needed to pay off a judgment.  They are offered compensation to find the murderer (although the money is as hard to get as a solution).


It would appear that many of the deceased's co-workers, including his two partners, had motives to slay him.  Among the ruses Fifi and Bosco use in their "investigation" in an attempt to garner clues is to pose as grief counselors to employees of the insurance brokerage firm.  Just one of the many quirky characteristics of the two.


For a first effort, the novel is fast-moving and interesting.  The plot is different, although the traditional "closed door" mystery is at its base.   The dangers to the protagonist are several, including the bombing of her vehicle, and the police suspecting her of various crimes.  And, of course, the conclusion is unexpected.


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