Monday, May 15, 2017

Miscast For Murder by Ruth Fenisong

I hope you all had a Happy Mother's Day, not only those of you who are mothers but those who were able to celebrate with your mothers or at least remember her in gratitude. I know not everyone has the same experience with their moms; it's a broken world and relationships are not always as they should be.  So I hope for you all that there was someone who was able be that female presence in your life. And, anyway, I hope you all had a great weekend.

I had a wonderful weekend.  The above photos are of the flowers given to me by my husband, Josh, and my son, Derek who has come home for the summer.

Derek manages to fool me every time into thinking that he has forgotten about the special day.  He does this for my birthday, Christmas, whatever, and I fall for it every single time. is good. And I am listening to Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor.  It is performed by one of my favorite Pianists, Martha Argerich.

And now for something a little darker.

Goodreads did not have a copy of this book available so I had to create my own copy.  We can all see what a good job I did with the title and I have no idea how to undo it.

miscast for murder ruth fenisongmiscast for murder ruth fenisong by Ruth Fenisong

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miscast for Murder is the second story I have read by Ruth Fenisong. Like the first, it is a quick, fun read. Something to curl up with on a rainy weekend as I did.  I
also forgot to bring the dust jacket inside after taking the above photograph. The next day it was still there on the grass, all but obliterated .

Bess Rohan works for a publishing company in New York City. She has left the small town where she grew up under the shadow of a domineering, narcisstic mother and has branched out to develop her own person and make her own life and career.

Her father, Kevin Culhane, left the family when she was an infant. Knowing her mother as she does, she doesn't blame him although she has always yearned for a relationship with him. Culhane has since spent his time in the city, becoming a successful TV personality although now his star is waning.

While working in her office a young, cocky man by the name of Link Basset enters. Basset is a successful scriptwriter and also a DJ at a local restaurant. He is extremely self-assured and confidant and asks Bess out to lunch, or rather finds her leaving for lunch and joins her. Bess does not know this man, finds his quasi-insolent manner distasteful but is too diffident to shake him off so they go to a restaurant of his choosing where he pays for everything, against her will.

At the restaurant Bess sees a man she recognizes sitting at another table with a beautiful young lady. She has never met him before but she knows him because she has kept up with his career. It is her father Kevin Culhane. Basset knows Culhane and also the aspiring starlet he is having lunch with. He looks at them both with distaste. He is shocked when Bess confides in him that the man is her father.

Culhane does not recognize his daughter because he's never seen her before and soon he and his lady friend leave.

After lunch, Bess makes an impulsive decision to find where her father lives and meet him. She goes to the run down hotel he is living in.

In the city, Bess is living with her Aunt Alma who, unknown to Bess, has stayed in touch with her ex-brother in law. She has dinner with him and pursuades Culhane to come back to her apartment to meet his daughter. At first he is reluctant, but after some persuasion he agrees but insists on going home to change his jacket because it is soiled.

Alma waits in the lobby of the hotel while Culhane goes to his apartment to change. He never comes down. Alma, finally, after arguing with the boy at the front desk, simply scurries up to his apartment herself. She walks down the hall to his room to find the door open.

Alma walks into the room to find (DUH DUH DA DUM!!!!!) a dead body! It's of a woman who looks familiar but she's too frightened to look closely or stay long. Culhane is nowhere in sight so she runs home.

That is the premise and it is a good premise. Fenisong develops the premise into a satisfying story that keeps the reader in suspense as to what happened and who is the guilty party.

Once again Detective Nelson (he was in the last novel) arrives to interview all the players involved and to gather information. One by one we learn a little more about Link Basset, who seems to be more connected with the girl found in Culhane's room than we knew. We find out why Culhane was with the young woman.

We meet the victim's hard-nosed mother who demands justice but also fails to show remorse or produce an alibi.

Where was Bess when the girl was murdered? We meet Bess' mother, Lisa Rohan, and quickly learn to hate her as everyone but Bess does. We also find out the the murdered girl looks a lot like Lisa. Was there maybe a mistake? Was the wrong person murdered? But Lisa's fur coat was found in Culhane's apartment, covering the victim. How did it get there?

Finally we meet Lisa's new husband. A hard working man who has discovered too late that he has married a beautiful harpy.

Ruth Fenisong must have been someone, who, perhaps lacking the witty dialogue and writing skills of her contemporary detective writers (Stout, Fey, Gardner), still must have possessed a strong sense of compassion. Her characters all command sympathy, with the exception of Lisa Rohan, which creates a good plot and a yummy story.

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Apres le deluge.

Josh tells me I should leave my readers with a question if I would like more response.  So here is my question:

What do you look for in a good murder mystery (or any mystery)?

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  1. Good question. My answer: no vulgarities, no graphic violence, and an intelligent sleuth whom I would enjoying knowing.

    1. Hi Tim. I cannot agree with you strongly enough. Those things interfere with a good story and frankly I think they are tools by authors who want to cover up the fact that they cannot write a good story.

      I feel the same way about comedians.

    2. Sharon, I have a few favorites who meet my criteria: Father Brown, Maigret, Morse, and Poirot come immediately to mind.

    3. Tim, Father Brown is a favorite and so is Poirot. I like Maigret and also Inspector Morse, although I haven't read Morse only saw the TV show years ago.

      Have you read Josephine Tey? She's a new discovery for me and already a favorite.

    4. Yes, she's very good. I've read Brat Farrar and Daughter of Time.

    5. I recently read Brat Farrar which I thought was very good. I plan to read Daughter of Time. It has been voted by some mystery group to be the best mystery of the twentieth century.

  2. Inspector Appleby(Michael Innes)should be near the top of the list limo,as well as Gervase Fen(EdmundCrispin)...
    Not listening to much right now, as were traveling all over creation, staying from our house which remodeling going on producing lots of formaldehyde and the like..

    1. I am not familiar with either although I know you have mentioned Crispin before. Need to check if my library has him. One second...yes! And it's on the web which means I can immediately download it onto my Kindle. Stay tuned for reviews...

      How are you coping with the remodeling? Living in a hotel or just visiting friends?

    2. Partly both I Guess; right now we're in Lincoln city in place we've rented for a while...

    3. It can be a pain but worth it. At least that's what Josh and I are telling ourselves because we need to update our kitchen and Master bath. We plan on doing that this summer after our family visits.

  3. Happy belated Mother's Day Sharon.

    This was a really fun post and the book sounds really fun.

    I do need to read a few books like this.

    I love the book cover.

    Have a great week.

    1. Thanks, Brian. These books are like candy. They are just for fun when you want some down time. Have a good week!

  4. Great review. Sounds like a fun book to read. I like my mysteries with a bit of Sherlock in the mix....

    1. Hi Chris. I would not put Fenisong on the same level as Sherlock but she's fun for a light read.

  5. Those flowers are lovely! And I love the cover of Miscast for Murder! That face is priceless. It sounds like a very entertaining mystery too.

    1. Thanks, Kate. I thought the face made a good cover too. Kind of vintage although it's not in such good condition thanks to absent minded me.

      You would enjoy Ruth Fenisong as a quick, light read.

  6. Sounds like a fun read and the photographs of your flowers are gorgeous, they all look like paintings!

    1. Thanks, Marcia! They're still looking good after a week, too.

  7. Sounds like a fun book to read.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.