Perilous Friends

Overview

Barbara Simons was trying to figure out what to do, now that she and her employer had parted ways. She had the time, finally, to do everything she'd always wanted to do but didn't have the time for, but she needed to figure out how to finance it all. True, she had some money in the bank, a free, first-class airline pass good for the rest of her life, and a 560 SL Mercedes in the garage of her Montreal condo, but a girl can't live on possessions alone. To get her mind off some of her problems, including a ...
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Overview

Barbara Simons was trying to figure out what to do, now that she and her employer had parted ways. She had the time, finally, to do everything she'd always wanted to do but didn't have the time for, but she needed to figure out how to finance it all. True, she had some money in the bank, a free, first-class airline pass good for the rest of her life, and a 560 SL Mercedes in the garage of her Montreal condo, but a girl can't live on possessions alone. To get her mind off some of her problems, including a relationship that was going nowhere but out-of-town, she breaks into her friend Susan's ex-husband's apartment and takes high tea at the Ritz. Tea leads her into a den of gay cigarette hijackers; the break-in leads to the discovery of a body. Suddenly, her problem isn't just financing a life of leisure but wondering whether she's going to have to finance a legal defense fund. That she is an Anglophone in a city where English is not only a second but a second-class language does nothing to raise her spirits. In fact, the only thing that seems to be falling faster is the snow. In just a few days, she had gotten a scabby knee, sold out a friend, tampered with evidence, convinced her neighbors she was a hooker, and decided that she had lost the love of her life. Enough was enough; Barbara Simons was about to strike back.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Epstein writes an amusing first novel set in the Jewish community of upscale Montreal, where even the dishy police detective drives a BMW. But, despite the lighthearted tone, the plot is thick with murderers, adulterers, kidnappers, drug traffickers and organized criminals pursued, variously, by amateur detectives, the Montreal cops, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and, of course, one another. Perilous indeed. A corporate takeover has forced Barbara Simons out as PR spokesperson for PanCanada Airlines. Despondent even though she's received a lucrative severance package, Barbara cheers up when two friends ask for her help. Susan Porter wants Barbara's assistance in finding evidence that Susan's ex-husband, Frank, has a large, unreported cash income. Joanne Cowan, a TV investigative reporter, asks Barbara to join her in uncovering a cigarette smuggling ring. Things heat up when Frank is murdered. As in many first novels, the story is undermined by too many subplots and overburdened with scenes and characters whose sole purpose is to plant clues. Yet Epstein has created a funny, appealing protagonist and friends, even though they can't live without their cleaning ladies and nannies, and a glimpse into a rich Montreal of close-knit ethnic communities bedeviled by language wars and snowy winters. (Nov.)
VOYA - Barbara Jo McKee
Mystery writers such as Epstein who are storytellers with a sense of humor are a great find for those of us who love the genre. In Barbara Simons, a native of Montreal, Epstein has created a character in whom we see ourselves-including all our faults. Former vice president of public relations and corporate affairs of Pan Canada Air, the now unemployed Simons becomes mixed up in two capers with two very different girlfriends. In one, she goes undercover as a lesbian with her investigative reporter friend Joanne to get the goods on a gay cigarette-smuggling ring. And in the other, she and her friend Susan discover the body of Susan's ex-husband, and Barbara winds up hiding two kilos of heroin in her apartment while they decide what to do with it! Add to this mix a boyfriend who drops in and out of the scene; a detective-sergeant who is investigating her and the cases; and a cleaning lady named Mme. Jacqueline, who is exasperated by Barbara's sloppy habits, and you have a wonderful and entertaining story. When you are done, you will definitely want more, and one is in the works-Perilous Relations. Mystery fans will love this new, very original character. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Will appeal with pushing, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
After mourning three weeks for her suddenly redundant job, Montreal's Barbara Simons throws herself into her friends' problems. Friend Susan calls in the middle of the night: estranged husband, Frank, has been murdered by someone looking for the heroin she finds in her own closet. Friend Joanne proposes infiltrating a gay cigarette smuggling ringusing Barbara as disguised boss womanfor an investigative report exclusive. Both adventures provide ample opportunity for humor, suspense, and action, while various male friends and love affairs offer lively sidelines. This first novel is strongly recommended.
Kirkus Reviews
Of course, they don't seem perilous; they're just Barbara Simons's second cousin Susan Porter and her childhood friend Joanne Cowan, crack TV investigative reporter. But Joanne, fresh from the dangerous embraces of lovesick mob capo Francesco Grandese, has this great idea: She wants Barbara to masquerade as a lesbian hoodlum to help her infiltrate a gang of gay men trying to raise money for their AIDS-stricken lovers by hijacking a shipment of cigarettes. And Susan has this terrible estranged husband Frank, who, not content with running around with a bimbo stew—sorry, flight attendant—has gotten himself slightly killed, leaving behind a monster stash of high-grade heroin Susan really needs to have Barbara take home with her. Barbara, just made redundant from her executive position with PanCanada Air, is in no position to refuse either friend, and ends up donning leather and studs for her role as Justine Durrell, the cigarette lady, and parking the heroin in her closet, which is such a mess no murderer could ever find it there. Finally, just to keep from getting bored, she takes time out from her long-distance lover Sam Levine to toy with the affections of young Sgt. Gregory Allard, the Montreal cop who's investigating Frank's killing.

Susan Isaacs goes Canadian in this piquant first novel, with Barbara's breezy commentary and her cronies' unblinking, eternal adulteries more than compensating for the overstuffed, underconvincing double plot.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736649971
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Format: Cassette

Table of Contents

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