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Murder is a Family Business

Murder is a Family Business

4.5 12
by Ms. Heather Haven

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Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, doesn't think so. The 34-year old, half Latina, half WASP and one-hundred percent detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.
Murder is a Family


Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, doesn't think so. The 34-year old, half Latina, half WASP and one-hundred percent detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.
Murder is a Family Business is the first in a series of humorous mysteries revolving around Lee Alvarez, a combination of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Janet Evanovitch' Stephanie Plum, and the rest of Alvarez Family. Completing the family is Lee's "Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day" aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle "Tio;" and her energetic orange and white kitten, Tugger. When this group is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software. Seemingly light and frothy on the surface, the novel explores familial love: the good, the bad and the annoying.

Product Details

Wives Of Bath Press, The
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

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Meet the Author

After studying drama at the University of Miami in Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, novels, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced at several places, including Playwrights Horizon. Once, she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.
One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote "The Sands of Time" with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City's No Soap Radio - where she wrote comedic ad copy - helped develop her long-time love affair with comedy.
Her first novel of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Murder is a Family Business, won the Single Titles Reviewers' Choice Award 2011, and the second, A Wedding to Die For, received the 2012 finalist nods from both Global and EPIC for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. The third of the series, Death Runs in the Family, has already received rave reviews.
Stand-alone noir mystery, Death of a Clown, is steeped in Heather's family history. She is the daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk. Her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.
Death of a Clown is published by The Wives of Bath Press, March 1, 2013

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Murder is a Family Business 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know that I would really call Murder is a Family Business a romance. It's really more of a detective story, but that certainly didn't stop it from being fabulous. I'm actually pretty excited to read the next couple of books in the series (book two is due in May and book three is in the process of being written). This was a nice change from all of the romance I've been reading lately. I fell in love with this book within the first few pages. Family plays a huge part in the plot, and what a family it is. Maybe that's why I liked it so much - the characters are very reminiscent of my own family, at least personality wise. So here's the gist of the story: the Alvarez family runs a private detective agency, focusing on crimes of software piracy. They are asked by a family friend to investigate her husband, and so they branch out from their typical case load. The story is told from the point of view of Lee, the Alvarez daughter, who has a tendency to jump into things without necessarily thinking of the consequences. Her internal monologues are like something straight out of an episode of Gilmore Girls (one of my favorite shows ever, so please, take that as a compliment). Even at the more serious moments in the book, Lee would think something that would have me laughing. Like I said, the Alvarez family makes up the cast of characters. There's Lila, the 100% WASP, would fit in perfectly on a New England estate, mother, who somehow manages to maintain her composure, hairstyle, and keep her pearls in place even in the face of danger. Then there's Richard, the slightly eccentric computer genius, who would probably live in his mother's basement if he didn't have a trust fund. And finally there's the lovable uncle, Tio Mateo. Throw in an overprotective police detective, a few illegal Chinese immigrants, a colorful diner waitress, and a girl whose taste in hats makes Lady Gaga's fashion choices seem mainstream, and you've got yourself quite the adventure. For me, this was a great book. The writing was clever and I couldn't stop laughing. This is the perfect beach book. And I'm actually pretty excited that the second book in the series comes out just as I'm planning to head to the beach in May. I can't wait to see the antics of the Alvarez family continue. Laura, The One Hundred Romances Project
LadybugLinLH More than 1 year ago
Any book that has a cat on its cover already has a leg up in my opinion. However, this book has many more legs. Tugger, the winsome kitty is a heart grabber. He is also an integral part of the interaction between the Alvarez family that is struggling to deal with a lot of loss. Lee Alvarez is on an assigment she really despises...watching over an alleged adulturer, husband of Lee's Mom, society standard setter Lila Alvarez best friend from childhood. Drenching rain drives Lee to seek shelter in one of the many dinosaurs of our time, an actual phone booth where Tugger is huddling, and abandoned. While she is drying the little guy in her car, after Mom gave her permission to leave her unwanted surveillance, Lee begins to wonder why her quarry never resurfaced from the lone warehouse she'd followed him to? She can't let it go, does a u-turn and really turns an already bummer of an evening into one surely fashioned by a nightmare designer. This is a mystery story for the Alvarez family on PIs, but it is more. So much more. It is also Book One in the Alvarez Mystery Series. May I say, I am hooked and am looking forward to moving on to Book Two, Book Fifteen, and on.Murder is a Family Business
Saharad More than 1 year ago
Lee Alvarez is a private investigator for Discretionary Inquiries, her family’s business, renowned for ferreting out corporate software criminals. So how in the world did she get stuck tailing a would be adulterer along the San Francisco Bay docks, in a pouring down rainstorm? Well things go from bad to worse for Lee when she finds the man she’s been following deader than dead near an abandoned warehouse. Her tidy world is tossed upside down, and because she is curious by nature, Lee just can’t let the mystery of the dead man go. As this smart and feisty heroine delves deeper into the twists and turns of murder, she gets far more than she bargained for, not the least of which is the adorable kitten, Tugger. This clever, humorous, and interesting mystery definitely kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Heather Haven has created a smart, stubborn, albeit, always fashionable, character in Lee Alvarez. I was not only amused and fascinated by the cast of characters in Lee’s family, but was especially moved by the relationship between Lee and her iron willed mother, who runs the private investigation firm. With quick wit, a cool investigation, and quirky family dynamics, this story is a refreshing and well written whodunit. If you are a Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton fan, the first installment in this new mystery series is a must read! Looking forward to the next two: A Wedding To Die For, and Death Runs In the Family! Kudos! Ms. Haven
mizging More than 1 year ago
Honestly, you won't regret meeting the Alvarez family and following their investigative antics. Heather Haven manages to roll a little of everything into her books, and you're sure to become a fan. I've read books one and two of her series, and I can't wait for three. A good mystery only gets better with a hefty dose of humor to hold your attention. Love me some Heather Haven.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heavensent1 More than 1 year ago
Murder Is A Family Business is book one in the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series. Liana Alvarez (Lee to her friends) isn't your typical female, for one, she's a P.I. who investigates computer technology theft and yea, sometimes other stuff, like the case her mother put her on to find out about a cheating husband. Feeling like the job is beneath her, she takes in on anyhow as a favour to her mother's friend, whose husband is suspected of cheating. However, before she can say boo, Mr. Porter Wyler, real estate kingpin, is dead and the case takes on a whole new meaning. Lila Alvarez is Lee's mother and partner in the private investigator business, in which her husband started in hopes of nabbing computer thieves. She is the cliched type of aristocrat who is used to getting her own way in everything, and continues to ride her daughter for answers, running the agency with a tight fist, she doesn't take no for an answer. Together, alone with Lee's brother, Richard, her Uncle Tio and her cat, Tugger, she sets out to uncover the intrigues that surround, what was supposed to be a routine man cheating on woman deal, to learn the real truths behind the manifestations of all those involved. I really enjoyed Lee's personality and character. She is witty, comical and not the damsel in distress type of lady. She strives for perfection in order to please her mother and the memory of her father. You will find yourself chuckling over the antics and situations she gets herself into, she continuously seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the investigation turns deadly and involves her life, she pumps up her efforts instead of running from the ordeal ahead. I found the twists and turns in the plot to be enjoyable, even if I did figure out the culprit long before the book ended. Now I had to read it to see if I was correct, and that was part of the charm with the story, the predictability of the character's involved didn't hinder the plot nor the story. I enjoyed the tidbits of information dispersed throughout the pages on San Francisco and Silicon Valley, I hadn't expected that and it was refreshing to read. I liked Lee, she was as strong woman and I was thankful for such, sometimes authors make the main character a helpless, hapless victim that needs to be "saved", I loved that Heather Haven did not do this to Lee Alvarez, it would have seriously dampened the plot. The only downfall to the book were some scenes seemed to continue longer than they should or could have. I would've liked to have read a bit more about Richard, but I'm sure he will have more of a backstory in the books to follow. I quite enjoyed this new series and I think Heather Haven has found a successful and fresh approach to murder/mystery suspense novels. I look forward to reading more in the months ahead.
ReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
Heather Haven's writing is AWESOME! Yep. Awesome! She blends lots of mystery and suspense with humor and greatastic characters. It's quirky and it's twisty, and it's one that I am so happy to have had the chance to review. Liana "Lee" Alvarez is put on the case of the cheating husband, and man, she's NOT dressed for the occasion. She's used to being in the office helping with the techno stuff. But, she can't turn down her mom's friend in a time of need. So, on a pouring down rainy day, dressed in heels and intent on investigating, Lee heads to San Francisco to the gather the clues of the cheating hubby. When she's forced to take cover in the phone booth near the warehouse where she's investigating, she finds a lonely little kitten who looks more like drowned rat. She takes him home and enlists the aid of her Latino uncle in kitten sitting while she sets out to solve the crime of the murdered cheater. But, what happens when she goes to give her statement and finds that SHE is a suspect, since she was the last known person at the scene of the crime? I had so much fun following Lee around, gathering clues and piecing the puzzle together. I was a little sad when the turns twisted and she ended up in the hospital. But, between her and her fun loving brother, that sadness was quickly replaced with thrills as the crime was coming full light. Awesome! I highly recommend this book with 4 star praises. It's the start of a series that is SURE to be a hit selling one, and a series that I can't wait to collect and read more about this Latino WASP investigator! Well done, Heather!
PatDale More than 1 year ago
Funny! Poignant! Quirky! And I'm still talking about the author. Just kidding. Murder is a Family Business is a delightful read. There is mystery to be sure, but so much more. Heather Haven is an author who has her head on straight, but deals this mystery out in anything but a straight manner. Lee Alvarez is an atypical PI, but dealing with her dysfunctional family is a part time job in itself. I picked this one up and couldn't stop reading. That's what I want in a book and Haven delivers. Read it-loved it-can't wait for A Wedding to Die For, her next book in the Alvarez series from Muse Publishing. Pat Dale
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am thoroughly enjoying this book - my first reading of an e-book downloaded on my BlackBerry Storm 2 - looking forward to Ms. Haven's second book! :)
rodow62 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
MGDasef More than 1 year ago
This is a nice introduction to a family of private detectives. True, they're supposed to be in the business of investigating corporate theft and other ethically challenged business practices. However, Lee has been set the task of tailing on her mother's (the agency boss) friend's husband because the wife is suspicious that he's having an affair. Lee finds herself sitting on a dock in San Francisco in a driving rainstorm, getting soaked to the skin, and she can't even see her quarry in a dilapidated warehouse. What the heck would a warehouse have to do with a man philandering on his wife? Lee loses contact with the man, but finds a lost kitten. To me, far better to take the kitty home then to hang out trying to track the man's supposed extramarital affairs. Lee returns the next day to check out the warehouse and finds the man dead, shot three times in the chest. Okay, Lee is now hip-deep in a murder, somewhere the family agency didn't want to be. Lee is persistent, however (an annoying characteristic according to her mom) and just has to find out why the man is dead and whodunit. The clues pile up while Lee investigates, leaving the kitten to the care of her tio (uncle) while she tries to figure out why the man is dead. Okay, enough plot because this is just the beginning as Haven stacks up a lot of clues and hints and puts Lee is dire danger. All in all a nicely done suspense/mystery. The only complaint I have is that a section set in a hospital goes on too long for my taste. There. I said something negative so you know I am really giving an honest assessment. I definitely enjoyed this book and I look forward to the continuing adventures of the Alvarez family detective agency.