Murder by Design

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Overview

Rick Domino is at the very top in his world - which is Hollywood - and his stock in trade is celebrity gossip. His finances, however, are the pits and can't begin to pay for his copious good taste. So when his producer 'suggests' he be a guest on a popular cable decorating/reality program - "My House, Your House" - Rick agrees to appear not only because he's not really given a choice in the matter but it's a chance at a free makeover for his sagging, outdated living room. As ...

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Overview

Rick Domino is at the very top in his world - which is Hollywood - and his stock in trade is celebrity gossip. His finances, however, are the pits and can't begin to pay for his copious good taste. So when his producer 'suggests' he be a guest on a popular cable decorating/reality program - "My House, Your House" - Rick agrees to appear not only because he's not really given a choice in the matter but it's a chance at a free makeover for his sagging, outdated living room. As plans go, this isn't Rick's best.

And it all quickly goes horribly wrong. The consulting designer assigned to his house is well known for the particularly dreadful remodeling horrors she's perpetrated on other guest's spaces. To make matters more unpleasant, Rick is teamed up with his bitterest professional enemy - his grasping, bitch co-host Mitzi McGuire-while the other 'couple' in the program is his friend Terry Zane - a sweet but savagely unstylish police detective - and Terry's recent ex-wife, the charmless Darla Sue. As if this mess wasn't big enough, one of the designers is savagely-if perhaps understandably-murdered and the prime suspect is Terry Zane's cousin. With Terry's help, Rick Domino is on a quest to rescue his reputation, salvage his living room, and - if at all possible - find the person responsible for this particularly tasteless act of murder.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gay gossip columnist Rick Domino made a smashing debut in Bloch's spoof of the Oscars, Best Murder of the Year (2002). If this wickedly funny sequel doesn't quite match the same high standard, the author keeps the satire mostly on target as Rick lets the design experts of the do-it-yourself cable TV show My House, Your House make over his outdated living room. Rick soon finds not just his house but his life turned upside down. Playing the comic innocent is Terry Zane, an LAPD "junior detective" whom Rick befriended (and helped bring out of the closet) in Best Murder of the Year. At Rick's suggestion, Terry allows MHYH to make over his bedroom on the same episode. The program's quirky cast includes Aunt Fern (country-style, heavy on the crochet); Bill McCoy (aka Shirtless Bill), who used to design theme parks; and Helena Godiva, "a kind of Donna Reed with a whip." The carpenters who assist the designers are no less extreme. The show's volatile and promiscuous relationships turn deadly with the murder of Helena, whose body is discovered swaddled in fabric swinging from a ceiling fan in her motel room the morning after the crew decorates Terry's bedroom walls with police badges. Bloch may rely too much on his characters' odd sexual proclivities for laughs, but anyone who has watched a DIY program like MHYH should enjoy the book's warped take on such shows. (Mar. 8) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A cheeky gossip columnist deconstructs a popular reality makeover show and solves a murder in the process. Against his better judgment, catty television entertainment reporter Rick Domino agrees to an on-air room redecoration courtesy of the popular cable program, My House, Your House (think Trading Spaces). His better judgment is confirmed when Rick is paired on the show with his backstabbing co-hostess Mitzi McGuire. But the enlisting of Rick's unlikely protege Terry Zane and Terry's ex-wife Darla Sue, the trailer trash queen, as the opposing TV team makes the ordeal almost bearable. Rick first met Terry, a rugged cop, during his debut (Best Murder of the Year, 2002). Ever since he helped Terry out of the closet, Rick has been gaying it forward by mentoring him. Their second round introduces a batch of bizarre design consultants-Shirtless Bill, former beauty queen Curtsy Ann, and frilly Aunt Fern, to name just three-before killing off one of their estimable number, dragon lady Helena Godiva. Because the prime suspect is wild-child carpenter Ann-Margret Wochinsky, who happens to be Terry's cousin, he and Rick are pressed into service to question the colorful likes of X-rated comedienne Tippi, TV cop-show sidekick Fernando, who has S&M secrets, and Hollywood couple Basil and Tarragon, who have a marriage of convenience. Bloch skewers his overstuffed cast with relish and panache, running a mot a minute, but lets his plot flounder. Agent: Peter Rubie/Peter Rubie Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312313128
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Series: Rick Domino Mysteries Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon P. Bloch is a professor at Southern Connecticut State University and is the author of Finding Your Leading Man as well as the first Rick Domino mystery, Best Murder of the Year. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2004

    A Rather Lame Chapter in the Series

    MURDER BY DESIGN is the second installment in the Rick Domino Mystery series. This time around, Hollywood TV gossip reporter, (think, Steve Kametko) Rick, has been asked to be a participant on the wildly popular program, My House, Your House, a sort of Trading Spaces knock-off. On the program two couples exchange addresses and with the help of a member of the show¿s design team, redesign a room in the other¿s home. Of course being on this show is not Rick¿s idea but rather that of his ratings obsessed boss, Max Headroom. Rick is financially strapped at the moment, and, as he would really like to change his living room, reluctantly agrees to the project. Rick is currently single, leaving him without a partner for the show, so he is forced by Max to team with his TV co-host Mitzy McQuire, whom he can not stand. It¿s bad enough that he has to work with her every week, but now this? The other couple, chosen by Rick, is recently out cop, Terry Zane, (Rick¿s crime solving partner in the first book of the series, BEST MURDER OF THE YEAR) and his ex-wife, Darla Sue. During the course of the ¿house swap¿ the designer working with Rick and Mitzy, Helena, is murdered and the show¿s carpenter, Ann Margaret Wochinsky, is accused of the crime. Ann Margaret just happens to be Terry¿s cousin. You got all that? Believe me, there¿s more, and it gets sillier and sillier. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, it was pleasantly over-the-top, had a nice catty take on the Hollywood scene, and was a great little diversion as far as murder mysteries go. The relationship between Rick and Terry showed promise, and I looked forward to the next installment. Unfortunately, this second book has lost the sophisticated edge of the first novel. The characters here are totally unbelievable, and the plot twists are just plain ridiculous. Where the first book was amusing, this one is absurd and completely contrived. I couldn¿t put the first book down, and I had to force myself to pick this book up and finish it. The relationship between Rick and Terry (the best part of both books) still crackles with sexual tension but it doesn¿t move much beyond what was established the first go round, a big disappointment for me. I sincerely hope the next book spends a little more time advancing their special bond. If you read BEST MURDER OF THE YEAR, and enjoyed it, than certainly, give MURDER BY DESIGN a try. Despite its shortcomings, the writing still maintains that tongue-in-cheek quality that made the first book so much fun. However, if you are expecting the same level of entertainment achieved the first time, I¿m afraid you too will be extraordinarily let down. Perhaps it can be blamed on the subject matter, or maybe the complete lack of sympathetic supporting characters, but this novel simply does not live up to its predecessor. One can only hope the next installment will be much improved.

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