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Straining hard for Catskills-style humor at every turn, Annie Dowd (née Edelstein) is looking for her killer.

You see, Annie drowned mysteriously in the pool of a swanky Long Island mansion just when she was about to get up close and personal with a sexy fellow guest, an Englishman with a cute accent. Life—and death—are incredibly unfair. Just ask her mother: plump Mrs. Edelstein never approved of Annie marrying and then divorcing a certified goy anyway, especially not a globetrotting investigative journalist like Frank Dowd. Nonetheless, her heartrending wails when she learns of her daughter’s untimely demise are enough to break even the hard hearts of the Long Island cops who investigate the case. And so it’s on to likely suspects, beginning with Agnes Spurgeon, iron-willed, 70ish owner of the successful real estate firm where Annie worked as a broker. Annie’s colleagues include Harold Spurgeon, Agnes’s wussy son; Claudia Harmon, man-hungry, 30ish glamour-puss; handsome Matt Sterling, 20ish object of Claudia’s lust, and more. All gather round to speculate on who killed Annie and why. But there’s no better man to get to the bottom of things than fearless Frank, who undertakes an investigation out of lingering love for the dear departed, not noticing that Annie’s spirit has wound itself around his shoulders. She moves on to snuggle with her bereaved mother in the funeral limo, although Annie herself doesn’t mind being dead all that much. She’ll never have to worry about her weight again! Enter an obligatory troupe of Mafia goons to liven things up (well, a little). Annie interferes in her ethereal way to help out with the investigation. Turns out that Harold Spurgeon needed to cover some bad loans before Mommy found out, and a loan shark named Johnny Romano swam over somewhere in the middle of a rather murky plot . . . and Annie just got in the way.

Confused but cheerful little debut mystery with more shtick than gore.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7582-0260-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2002