Her second time around, Maggie Mars—journalist, screenwriter, “chick dick”—goes one on one with a Hollywood diva.
At last they’ve gathered on the set to make Maggie Mars’s movie. Murder Becomes Her has arrived complete with the cherished screen credit, “Written by Maggie Mars.” As she’s prepared to tell the world, they’re “the most beautiful four words in the English language.” But there’s a Queen Bee in the ointment: bankable, bitchy Allegra Cort, who’s playing Maggie’s beloved protagonist, Mercedes Pell, while playing poor Maggie to a fare-thee-well. Relentlessly, maliciously, script change by script change, Maggie and her Mercedes are being whipped into manageable shape by a dominatrix who knows her business, and who couldn’t care less about being universally detested. Little wonder, then, that someone soon seizes Oscar from Allegra’s mantle and brains her with it. The cops like Maggie for the homicide. Her back to the wall, Maggie has little choice but to turn detective again. Never mind those hunks—the buff cop, the smart lawyer, the worshipful journalist—who’ve been circling Maggie’s susceptible libido. In the chick dick’s operating manual, solve precedes sex.
If you think of Stephanie Plum as the paradigmatic cookie, Maggie (As Dead as it Gets, 2005) is strictly a cookie-cutter sleuth.