Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Relationships Can Be Murder by Jane DiLucchio

Publisher:              New Victoria Publishers

How many times have you read a mystery only to figure out before you are half way through the book who did it? That will not be a problem with Relationships Can Be Murder. Jane DiLucchio keeps you completely in the dark until the last minute as to the identity of the murderer and in the process tells a story that is often humorous. You have to like Dee DelVale. She really cannot help it that she has no idea what she is doing as she tries to be a detective. 

Dee DelVale is not really looking for trouble. She finds her life as a teacher generally fulfilling and she has a large circle of friends to keep her busy with various activities. True, she is trying to recover from a bout of lunacy when she had a torrid affair with Sheila Shelbourne, the anchor of the local evening news, and destroyed the relationship with her partner Evie, the true love of her life. And she is humiliated by the fact that Sheila only used her as one of her many quickly passing fancies and then dumped her. And that becomes part of the problem because someone decides to bash Sheila's head in.

Despite having a long list of suspects, the police make it clear early on that they are convinced that Dee is the murderer, though she cannot understand why. Well, there is the fact that she was at Sheila's apartment around the time she was killed. And, of course, Dee lied about it….and got caught in the lie by the police. Dee finds herself suspended from her job, with the police determined to arrest her for the crime and no apparent way to stop the process; however, Dee has friends who believe in her. There is her best friend Tully, the equivalent of a lesbian "lady killer," who has never met a woman who could resist her charms and immediately develops a huge crush on the lead detective Quinn, a woman who makes Sgt. Joe Friday from the old Dragnet series seem jovial. While Tully tries to make a move on Quinn, she convinces Dee that they are going to have to solve the murder themselves before the police have her convicted. Felicia is the makeup woman who kept Sheila looking beautiful and knows all of the dirty secrets and failed affairs at the TV station. She is in love with Jenny, who appears not to notice her and is concealing a secret of her own. Well, actually two. Tully decides to play Sherlock Holmes to her three Dr. Watsons, though sometimes they come closer to resembling the four Stooges. Attempts on Dee's life remind them however that they are dealing with a deadly opponent.

Jane DiLucchio proves to be an accomplished storyteller. She moves between humor and seriousness at just the right tempo. The reader is not allowed to forget that there is a deadly person involved in this story while enjoying some of the situations that Dee and her friends find themselves in. DiLucchio also provides a rather long list of people who could have done the killing, keeping them all viable suspects right up until the end, and the true killer actually turns out to be a surprise. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and the pages pass before you realize it.

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