Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Way to Kill a Lady (Blackbird Sisters # 8) by Nancy Martin

Nora Blackbird, the Bucks County ex-debutante with a haute couture wardrobe, a hot job as a glamorous society columnist and a stone cold bank account, might finally have her own life just right, but everyone around her is going down in flames. Her sister Libby seems destined to be the lead character in a tabloid sex scandal.  Her sister Emma is expecting a mysterious love child.  Her best friend, Lexie Paine, is serving time in the slammer.  And now her mobbed-up boyfriend, Mick Abruzzo—who might actually be her husband—is conducting clandestine capers from Blackbird Farm while under house arrest. What’s a good girl to do? 
Find a killer, that’s what!  Word arrives that the sisters’ great aunt, Madeleine Blackbird, has died in a volcanic eruption on an Indonesian island and left her fabulous country estate, worth millions, to the three of them.  But when the Blackbird sisters show up to claim their windfall, they find the house in a state of disheartening decay and all of Madeleine’s to-die-for treasures gone. Worse, the mansion has been hiding a grisly secret: the body of a woman who died there many years ago.  All the evidence points to a high society murder... ( Synopsis from B&

Hardcover, Penguin Books, 310 pages  Release date:8/7/12

In Nancy Martin’s long awaited eighth book in the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries, it looks like things are looking up for the sisters. Forced to live in genteel poverty since their parents absconded with their trust funds, news that they inherited their Aunt Madeleine’s estate seems the answer to their prayers. Life is complicated for the sister, Nora’s lover, Michael, is in jail, Emma is pregnant with no chance of marrying the father and Libby is ….well, Libby.
When they get to the site of the mansion, they discover that the house is a wreck, all of the valuables are missing and to top it off, they find skeletal remains in the elevator. Add to the mix a smarmy cousin, Sutherland, who might contest the will, and it’s obvious that this is not going to be the answer to the sister’s problems. There is some good news, Michael is released to the Blackbird farm on supervised home release but that means his thuggish entourage also will be on the premises. Michael has another surprise for her, but it’s a big surprise for him as well.
Nora works on finding out what happened to her aunt, clearing her aunt’s name after salacious rumors surface, and finding out what happened to all of the pilfered items from the house. Nora uses her job as a society columnist to get information about her aunt’s history and finding out who would have had access to the estate. Her aunt’s lecherous lawyer seems pretty suspicious and there are a few society matrons who were very jealous of Aunt Madeleine and would have been happy to see her gone.
I have always enjoyed this series because of all the different threads that run through every story. I love the insider look at mainline society and the descriptions of the vintage outfits Nora wears to events. The contrast between that life and the mob family connections of Michael’s has led to  problems in the relationship in the past but in this book they seem to be on a pretty even keel. Emma’s pregnancy is stressing her out physically and mentally and the off/on relationship with the father does not help.  Libby is convinced her toddler son is destined for athletic superstardom and is still on the prowl for anything in pants. Nora has a full plate of craziness to deal with and Michael is her anchor even with his problems. They are perfect together even though their life is still unsettled.
If you have been a fan of this series, you will love this book. The biggest problem will be waiting for the next one to come!

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