An Affair to Dismember

An Affair to Dismember

by Elise Sax

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345532220
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Elise Sax worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly in Paris, France. She took a detour from journalism and became a private investigator before trying her hand at writing fiction. She lives in Southern California with her two sons. An Affair to Dismember is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

When you first start out, you’re going to ask people what they’re looking for. This is a big mistake. Huge. They want the impossible. Every woman wants a Cary Grant with a thick wallet who doesn’t mind if she’s a few pounds overweight. Every man wants a floozy he can take home to Mom. See? Asking their opinions only leads to headaches you could die from. Take it from me, I’ve been doing this a lot of years. Nobody knows what they want. You have to size a person up and tell them what they want. It might take convincing, but you’ll widen their horizons, and they’ll thank you for it. Eventually. Remember, love can come from anywhere, usually where you least expect it. Tell them not to be afraid, even if it hits them on the head and hurts a lot at first. With enough time, any schlimazel can turn into a Cary Grant or a presentable floozy.

Lesson 22, Matchmaking Advice from Your Grandma Zelda

The morning I found out about Randy Terns’ murder, I was happily oblivious. I was too busy to care, trying to make heads or tails of my grandma’s matchmaking business. Nobody actually mentioned the word “murder” that morning. I sort of stumbled onto the idea later on.

That Thursday I sat in my grandma’s makeshift office in the attic of her sprawling Victorian house, buried under mounds of yellowed index cards and black-and-white Polaroid pictures. It was all part of Zelda’s Match­- making Services, a business I now co-­owned at my grandma’s insistence as her only living relative and what she called “a natural matchmaker if ever I saw one.”

“Gladie Burger,” she had told me over the phone three months before, urging me to move in with her, “you come from a long line of Burger women. Burger women are matchmaker women.”

I was a Burger woman, but I had strong doubts about the matchmaker part. Besides, I couldn’t decipher the business. It was stuck in the dark ages with no computer, let alone Internet connection. Grandma fluctuated between staging workshops, running group meetings, hosting walk-­ins, and just knowing when someone needed to be fixed up. “It’s an intuitive thing,” she explained.

I pushed aside a stack of cards, stirring up a black cloud of dust. I had been a matchmaker in training for three months, and I was no closer to matching any couples. To be truthful, I hadn’t even tried. I wiped my dusty hands on my sweatpants and stared at the giant mound on her desk. “Grandma, I’m not a matchmaker,” I said to her stapler. “I’ve never even had a successful relationship. I wouldn’t know one if I saw one.”

I had a sudden desire for fudge. I gave my stomach a squish and tugged at my elastic waistband. My grandmother was a notorious junk food addict, and I had slipped into her bad habits since I moved in with her. Hard to believe I was the same person who not even four months ago was a cashier in a trendy health food store in Los Angeles, the second-­to-­last job I had had in a more than ten-­year string of jobs—­which was probably why Grandma had twisted my arm to move to Cannes, California.

I decided against fudge and picked up an index card. It read: George Jackson, thirty-­five years old. Next to the note, in Grandma’s handwriting, was scribbled Not a day less than forty-­three; breath like someone died in his mouth. Halitosis George was looking for a stewardess, someone who looked like Jackie Kennedy and had a fondness for Studebakers. Whoa, Grandma kept some pretty old records. I needed to throw out 95 percent of the cards, but I didn’t know which 5 percent to keep.

Putting down the card, I stared out the window, my favorite activity these days. What had I gotten myself into? I had no skills as a matchmaker. I was more of a temp agency kind of gal. Something where I wasn’t in charge of other people’s lives. My three-­week stint as a wine cork inspector was more my speed.

A man and his German shepherd ran down the street. I checked my watch: 12:10 p.m. Right on time. I could always count on the habits of the neighbors. There was a regular stream of devoted dog walkers, joggers, and cyclists that passed the house on a daily basis. Not much changed here. The small mountain town was low on surprises. I tried to convince myself that was a good thing. Stability was good. Commitment was good.

With sudden resolve, I took George Jackson’s card and threw it in the wastebasket. “Bye, George. I hope you found love and an Altoid.”

I tried another card. Sarah Johns. Nineteen years old. She had gotten first prize at the county fair for her blueberry pie, and she was looking for an honest man who didn’t drink too much. My grandma had seen something more in her. Poor thing. Art school better than man, she had written in the margins.

I tossed the card, letting it float onto George. Matchmaking was no easy task. It wasn’t all speed dating and online chat rooms. Lives were on the line. One false move and futures could be ruined.

The house across the street caught my attention. It had seen better days. A bunch of shingles were missing, leaving a big hole in the roof. I watched as the mailman stopped at the mailbox. He would arrive at Grandma’s in twelve minutes. I could set my watch by him.

Across the street, the front door opened. An elderly woman stepped out and picked up her mail. She glanced at the letters and then stood staring at her front yard. Something was not quite right about the picture. I didn’t have time to dwell on it, though. I had promised Grandma I would pick up lunch for us in town.

I grabbed my keys and hopped down the stairs. Outside, it was a typical Cannes, California, August day: blue sky, sunshine, and warm. Normally it didn’t turn cool until October, or so I was told. My experience with the town was limited to summers visiting my grandmother when I was growing up.

“Yoo-­hoo! Gladie!” Grandma’s high-­pitched cry cut through the country quiet. She stood in the front yard, hovering over the gardener as he cut roses. The front yard was about half an acre of lawn and meticulously groomed plants, flowers, and trees. It was her pride and joy, and Grandma supervised the gardening with an obsession usually reserved for Johnny Depp or chocolate. I doubted she had ever picked up a spade in her life. “Yoo-­hoo! Gladie!” she repeated, flapping her arm in the air, her crisp red Chanel knockoff suit bulging at the seams and the glittering array of diamonds on her fingers, wrists, and neck blinding me in the afternoon sun.

“I’m right here, Grandma.” I jiggled the car keys to remind her of my lunch run.

“Jose, leave a few white ones for good luck and be careful with the shears,” she told the gardener. “You don’t want to lop off a finger.” Jose shot her a panicked look and crossed himself.

Grandma walked as quickly as she could across the large lawn to the driveway. She had a grin plastered across her face and, no doubt, some juicy bit of news bursting to pop out of her mouth. Her smile dimmed only slightly when she got a good look at my state. I pulled up my baggy sweatpants. As usual, she was immaculately coiffed and made up, whereas my brown hair was standing up in all directions in a frantic frizz, and my eyelashes hadn’t seen mascara in months. I didn’t see much reason to dress up because I rarely left the attic, but standing next to Grandma, I was a little self-­conscious about my attire. As a rule, her clothes were nicely tailored. I listened to the soft swish-­swish of her pantyhose-­covered thighs rubbing together as she approached. I wondered vaguely if the friction of her nylon stockings could cause them to burst into flames. I took a cowardly step backward, just in case.

“I’m so glad I caught you before you left,” she said, a little out of breath from either her run or the excitement over the piece of gossip she was about to blurt out. While Grandma never left her property, she somehow knew everything going on in town.

“I didn’t get much done,” I said. “I can’t figure out what to keep and what to toss. Should I throw out everything older than ten years?”

“Fine. Fine. Listen. Randy Terns is dead. They found him yesterday morning, deader than a doornail.”

I racked my brain. Who was Randy Terns? Was he the new secretary of state? Really, I had to read a news­paper once in a while. What kind of responsible citizen was I?

“That’s terrible,” I muttered, a noncommittal edge to my voice in case Randy Terns was a war criminal or something.

“Yes, yes. Terrible. Terrible.” Grandma waved her hands as if everything was terrible. The sky, the trees, my car—­all terrible. She grabbed my arm in a viselike grip and pulled herself close to make sure that I heard every word. “I’m on Betty like white on rice to sell that old run-­down excuse for a house. I’d love to get in some people who will fix it up. Look at me! I’m drooling over the thought of waking up, going out to get the paper, and not having to see that dreadful lawn across from my prize-­winning roses.” She made air quotes with her fingers when she said “lawn.”

She turned to face the house across the street. “I bet you will be thrilled not to have to stare at that falling-­ down roof every day!”

Falling-­down roof. My brain kicked into gear, and I recalled the woman standing by her mailbox. Randy and Betty Terns were the neighbors across the street. I’d never had much interaction with them. And now Randy was dead. Found yesterday morning, deader than a doornail.

I hate death. I’m scared it’s contagious. At funerals, I feel my arteries start to harden. Medical shows on TV send me into neurotic fits. McDreamy or McSteamy, it doesn’t matter—­I only see my slow, agonizing death from a terrible disease. Like Ebola or flesh-­eating bacteria. Or a drug-­resistant superbug yeast infection. If I found out that poor Randy Terns died of a heart attack, it would only take five minutes or so for my chest pains to start.

“Betty said she would think about it,” Grandma said with disgust. “Said she has a funeral to organize and a houseful of kids. Kids. Huh. The youngest is thirty-­seven. Three of them still live at home. It’s time to push those birdies out of the nest, I say.”

She harrumphed loudly and kicked the cobblestoned driveway with her left Jimmy Choo. Gold-­tipped. Very fancy.

“Five children. Why do people take things to extremes?” she continued. “Anyway, they come and go like they own the place, moving in and out whenever they want. They’re holding on for dear life. A bunch of losers, the lot of them. I didn’t make an index card for any of them.” She looked at me expectantly, and I nodded vigorously in agreement, even though the most I saw of the “bunch of losers” these days were some faceless figures going to and from various cars.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Elise Sax’s new Matchmaker series is off to a rousing start! . . . Sax gives the comic mystery genre a new spin. . . . A fun read sure to entertain.”—RT Book Reviews
“Fans of laugh-out-loud romantic suspense will enjoy this new author as she joins the ranks of Janet Evanovich, Katie MacAllister, and Jennifer Crusie.”—Booklist
“Elise Sax will win your heart.”—New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis
“In the tradition of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, Elise Sax’s new novel is a funny, sexy ride.”—Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind
“What a fun book! It will leave readers begging for more.”—Kim Gruenenfelder, author of There’s Cake in My Future

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An Affair to Dismember 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
krazymama_98 More than 1 year ago
Totally a five star book. Bad things first. Her dress is the wrong color. She doesn't have sex. And the best storyline in the book doesn't finish. Good things. It is freakin' hilarious!!! Its a fun mystery. Crazy characters. There are no boring slow times. The mystery is an interesting one. The crazy and the hot are all terrific characters. I cannot imagine how Elise will keep up this pace. I really enjoyed this read. Only a couple of fun quotes. "He had me there. I was a big fat liar with my pants on fire." "I felt his breath on the back of my neck and right there and then, I began to ovulate." I really enjoyed this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good book
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Marissa Book provided by: Edelweiss Review originally posted at Romancing the Book This was a most amazing and amusing book and I decided I had to share it with everyone. I love getting in on the beginning of a new series, especially one that has all the elements I love: mystery and romance with a little bit of humor thrown in. Reading this one gave me a nice case of the warm fuzzies and I’m hoping to pass them along… Gladie is a character made just for me. She’s in her late twenties but has no direction in her life (neither did I at that age). Since most romance novels tend to feature their female leads as strong and career-oriented (lawyers, chefs, doctors – all those jobs that take training and career planning), I’ve always had a hard time identifying with them. Now I’m given a woman with no long-term goals, where three weeks in one job is deemed a lifetime, and who faints at the sight of blood. She’s moved into her grandmother’s house and is training to take over the matchmaking business and before long has two handsome men interested in her well-being. Let’s not forget the way her eyes dilate when she sees Spencer, the hot new police chief in town, and Holden, the handsome new next-door neighbor with the mysterious background (and what great names are those, huh?). Hubba, hubba. Within the space of one week, Gladie is stuck on a telephone pole, kidnapped, threatened, steals a police car, finds a dead body, gets shot at, and gets kissed by the dreamy neighbor. Like I said, I love getting in on a new series – and this one promises to be a doozy!
rj98 More than 1 year ago
this book was so funny!!!   i really liked it but it like zany, and crazy.   I think its worth the money.
shannschoice More than 1 year ago
Hilarious and fun, this book was impossible to put down!  Gladie moves to California to be with her grandmother who wants her to take over the family business.  But when her neighbor is found murdered, Gladie is determined to find out who the murderer is.  With the help (or distraction) of two hunky men, she ends up biting off a little more than she can chew. The characters in this book are incredibly well written.  They are witty, beautiful, quirky and a whole lot of fun.  Just like someone you'd more than likely find yourself friends with.  Gladie is a great lead, comparable to Stephanie Plum in just about every way.  Her two suitors, Holden and Spencer, are exciting, a bit mysterious, and super sexy!  The secondary characters round out the story with humor and intrigue. Remarkably well written, this classic whodunnit mystery is a fantastic first in what looks to be a promising new series.   Reviewed by Marie for Cocktails and Books.
Traann More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for the next book in the series! “An Affair to Dismember” is a laugh out loud, entertaining book from debut author Elise Sax.  She introduces us to Gladie Burger, a woman who is training to take over her grandmother Zelda’s Matchmaking business although Gladie seems to think she is better cut out to find the murderer of her neighbor who the police do not believe has been murdered.  Gladie interacts with a variety of interesting, crazy and in some cases sexy people in her pursuit of finding out what really happened in the fictional town of Cannes, California where her eccentric grandmother lives and Gladie has moved to.  We meet her friends Bridget and Lucy who love to get involved in all Gladie does.  Then there is the new neighbor, the sexy Arthur Holden who you never find out what he does for a living and the delicious Chief of Police, Spencer Bolton who is one of the people always coming to Gladies rescue whenever she gets in over her head. I don’t want to repeat what others have written but I do want to say that you will be pulled in to the story and want to meet and become friends with most of the characters in this book.  Yes, being a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, I too see the parallels to her stories but I do think it is a compliment to both of them to compare the style.  There is enough different though that I can’t wait for the next book in the Matchmaker series, “Matchpoint” due out in July 2013, to find out who Gladie will want to spend more time with, Spencer or Arthur (who goes by Holden), and just what is it that Holden does.  Will Gladie become the matchmaker grandmother Zelda thinks she is cut out to be or will she keep getting caught up in other peoples “issues” and keep expanding her horizons helping others with their unsolved problems?  I guess I will just have to read the next book in the series to find out what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok. So i loved and hated this book. I loved the mystery part of the book. You kept changing who you thought the killer was. And what happened with the killer at the end was a twist. This book is also very well written. I loved all the people even the crazy ones. Now the romance part of the book. Shes trying to chose between one hot mystery guy and one sexy cop. I liked how you went back and forth on who you wanted her to be with. But the part I hated was how at the end she left the romance part was left wide open. I read this book in one and half days because i wated to know who the killer was and which man she was going to pick. So when it was left unsaid i felt cheated. Im going to guess a secound book will come out but now i have to think about weather i want to take the risk and read it and possably be left with another unfinished ending.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
I was happy to meet Gladie Burger as she tries out a new town and career after a lifetime of wandering. Staying with her grandma Zelda and learning the matchmaker trade from the ground up would seem easy enough, but crazy neighbors, cute police and a possible murder pave the way for Gladie's madcap adventure. I liked the title, the storyline wasn't too easy to figure out and I will definitely follow Gladie on her next adventure. To say she's like Stephanie Plum is almost unfair. Gladie's her own person, surrounded by some great, zany characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a cute and quick read. Definitely recommend for something light and sultry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. All the cheesy jokes and stealthy humor had me giggling out loud. Plus, the hunky men involved keep me coming back for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to laugh, a little romance & enjoy mystery. Excellent read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another new author to add to my "favs" I accidentally found this book and I am glad I did. Funny, entertaining and nice easy read. I am a fan and look forward to read All Elise's books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dingy_btch More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read. Hysterical! Janet Evanovich has some stiff competition. I love the humor mixed in the relationship. This is an author I will automatically purchase every time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not like this book at all, it was really hard to get through. There is such a thing as too much detail - way too much down to silly things. It barely made sense at times. I would not read anything by this author again.
BonBonBonnie More than 1 year ago
can't put this book down, funny, funny. would certainly recommend this for any day of the week.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy Stephanie Plumb books you'll love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very little romance. Waste of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was terrible! The main character is written to seem so ditzy and helpless. The plot didnt even make sense and then it just comes to an end with no real suspense. Not worth the paper it was written on
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sexy sexy sexy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suzzie1 More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh how funny and wonderfully entertaining is this book. Pages 70-74 are writing genus. It was uncontrollable laughter of the best kind. I love Gladie and her dealings with Spencer, now he is all together Something else and what about Holden, the "guy next door"? Good mystery as well. Loved the book and looking forward to  Reading the next one and more from this author.