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Speak Ill of the Dead by Mary Jane Maffini
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Speak Ill of the Dead

by Mary Jane Maffini

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Speak Ill of the Dead would probably be classified as a cozy mystery but I can't think of anyone further from Miss Jane Marple as a sleuth than Camilla MacPhee. Camilla is feisty, passionate, funny and dogged. When her best friend Robin is suspected of murdering Mitzi Brochu, a vicious fashion guru, Camilla is determined to find out who the real murderer is because she knows Robin is not capable of murder.

She isn't really helped by Robin because Robin has been bedridden ever since discovering Mitzi's body. Instead Camilla uses unlikely allies like Alvin, her punkrocker assistant, Ted Beamish, a law school colleague, and Richard Sandes, good-looking manager of the hotel Mitzi was murdered in. Camilla knows Robin knows or suspects someone and is protecting him or more probably her. Getting to the bottom of the crime takes many hours and puts Camilla in danger. On top of all that she is also looking after Robin's six cats in her apartment that does not allow cats. The nosy neighbour, Mrs. Parnell, starts out as a problem but ends up being a godsend.

I didn't really figure out who the villain was until the end but I did have my suspicions because he seemed too good to be true. I thought Maffini did a good job of throwing up red herrings but she needs more practise before she can be in the same class as Agatha Christie.

I enjoyed the setting in Ottawa since I spent ten weeks there and knew many of the spots mentioned. I also enjoyed the character of Alvin since I once had a male secretary who was about as useless at secretarial duties as Alvin was. (Fortunately I never had any murders to solve so I don't know if he would have been useful in that capacity.) ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 7, 2017 |
pretty good. a little obvious. only the bad guys are dead. a few laughs. ( )
  mahallett | Jun 4, 2011 |
Camilla MacPhee is one of my favourite mystery solver. Most of Maffini's books are set in Ottawa, which makes them all the more interesting. Throw some humour in and you end up with a very enjoyable read. ( )
  ilovecookies | Mar 9, 2008 |
Quite an entertaining murder mystery. The family dynamics are believable (or at least they somewhat resemble my own occasionally). Finding all the clues happened at a reasonable rate not all of a sudden, however I think I would have killed Alvin myself.

When a gossip columnist with a poison pen is found dead, that isn't surprising, what is surprising is that Robin Finlay, Camilla's best friend is the main suspect. While Robin has a minor nervous breakdown, Camilla investigates. As she enquires the bodies start mounting and the number of suspects starts increasing.

It does have some of the aspects of first novel but I hope she writes more, I'd read them. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 8, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0929141652, Paperback)

Camilla MacPhee is the black sheep of her perfect, blonde family, although she runs a law office specializing in Justice for Victims of violent crimes. However, her uneasy association with the world of crime takes a bizarre turn when a vicious, vindictive fashion columnist with underworld connections named Mitzi Brochu is crucified in a downtown hotel room. The problem is that Camilla's best friend Robin was on her way to meet the victim, and has become the main suspect. Camilla sets out to vindicate her friend, but finding the real killer isn't easy, as just about anyone among the politicians and supermodels skewered by Mitzi's rapier wit could be said to have had ample motive. The investigation turns dangerous, as Camilla receives cryptic warnings while following a grisly killer's trail marked by more murders of humans and felines. The cast of characters includes a sleazy rock promoter, a nosy, sherry-mad old lady, a suave but mysterious hotel manager, a grumpy Mountie, and several manipulative sisters in this seriously funny first mystery novel by Mary Jane Maffini.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:09 -0400)

Camilla MacPhee is the black sheep of her perfect, blonde family, although she runs a law office specializing in Justice for Victims of violent crimes. However, her uneasy association with the world of crime takes a bizarre turn when a vicious, vindictive fashion columnist with underworld connections named Mitzi Brochu is crucified in a downtown hotel room. The problem is that Camilla's best friend Robin was on her way to meet the victim, and has become the main suspect. Camilla sets out to vindicate her friend, but finding the real killer isn't easy, as just about anyone among the politicians and supermodels skewered by Mitzi's rapier wit could be said to have had ample motive. The investigation turns dangerous, as Camilla receives cryptic warnings while following a grisly killer's trail marked by more murders of humans and felines. The cast of characters includes a sleazy rock promoter, a nosy, sherry-mad old lady, a suave but mysterious hotel manager, a grumpy Mountie, and several manipulative sisters in this seriously funny first mystery novel by Mary Jane Maffini.… (more)

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