RADIO BLUES by Gloria Nagy

RADIO BLUES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mostly a rambling, raunchy soliloquy from a kvetchy, middle-class twin--who becomes increasingly glamorous, licentious, and endangered when she agrees to sit in for her sister as the famous radio-shrink Amora Sweet. Always her sister's patsy, Aroma consents to the impersonation so that Amora and her married boyfriend, Jimmy Bob, can escape from his peeved wife. But Amora forgot to mention the death threats; the scary calls; the letters, etc. And Aroma's now halfway convinced that something bigger than adultery is going on; she becomes absolutely convinced of it when she opens her office door and finds Amora's neatly coiffed, perfectly severed head on her desk. Who killed her and why? The picaresque trails wend past Amora's wimpy son, around station staff members Chen and O'Ralph, beyond Jimmy Bob, his incipient ex, and their obnoxious daughter, and down New Mexico way to follow up on a postcard from an old school chum of the twins'. Meanwhile, someone's following Aroma; she has Mona the showgirl-beautician disguise her; and she staggers through a dinner party at Signor Stucci's, where mobsters abound and where she encounters an old beau. The wrap-up occurs back in New York, with Amora resurrected, at least temporarily, and a finale that pits the Chinese Mafia against Jimmy Bob, litters the place with bodies, and leaves Aroma free to racily fantasize the rest of her life away. Less a murder mystery than a bawdy satire on electronic shrinks, Jewish families, and rampant New York-style materialism. Still, the shtick is funny, gleefully uninhibited--sort of what you'd expect if Sophie Tucker, Bette Midler, and/or Mae West ever turned their roving hands to crime.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's