Hit or Missus
A Peri Minneopa Mystery by Gayle Carline
Review: Orange County private investigator Peri Minneopa's latest assignment, a simple case of "I wonder how she spends her days" musing from a suspicious husband, may be tied into the death of one of her neighbors, in Hit or Missus, the second mystery in this series by Gayle Carline.
Peri's boyfriend, Skip Carlton, a detective with the Placentia Police Department, is called to investigate a body found in Peri's neighborhood. The woman was elderly, and apparently died of a heart attack while watching television. The coroner sees nothing amiss, but Skip notes that the woman's husband died just a few weeks earlier, also of a heart attack, also watching television. Though it is not improbable that the two deaths are unrelated, Skip decides to look into the matter further before signing off on the case. Separately, Peri is hired by a wealthy land developer to follow his wife … which in and of itself would be routine. Except that his name pops up in Skip's investigation, leading Peri — and later Skip — to conclude there may be a relationship between them, and it is likely to be anything but routine.
Hit or Missus might be classified as a combi-mystery, one that blends several subgenres into one book. It's part straight PI investigation and whodunit, part chick lit (Manolos are mentioned at least once), and part cozy (a cat plays a prominent role, opening and closing the book, but not solving the mystery … though he does offer a key clue to Peri in the form of a crumbled piece of paper). It's a little overplotted — there's enough material here for two books — and the ending may have readers wondering why this case didn't warrant more attention from the authorities sooner. Still, Peri is an appealing sleuth, a 50-something woman whose life experience as a house cleaner provides her with an eye for detail and gives her an edge when it comes to knowing where to find the skeletons in family closets.
Acknowledgment: the author provided a copy of Hit or Missus for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Hit or Missus: Orange County, California
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Hit or Missus by Gayle Carline — A Peri Minneopa Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2011
List Price: $13.99