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Listening to Miriam Weiden's phone message that night, I was totally dumbstruck. Here she was, frantically informing my answering machine that someone was trying to kill her. And it just didn't make any sense. Not from what I knew of the woman.
Of course, I have to admit that I didn't come by most of my knowledge firsthand. In fact, I'd only been in her company once, about three years earlier. The man I was seeing thenalthough I guess I shouldn't say "was seeing," because I only went out with him a couple of timeshad taken me to this formal benefit dinner. He was a high muck-a-muck at one of the television stations, and he went to those things pretty frequently. Me? It was my firstand onlyventure into society.
We were seated at the same tableMrs. Weiden, the muck-a-muck, and I. Initially I had no idea who she was. Her face wasn't the least bit familiar, and it wasn't as if her name were Trump or Tisch or anything. But I learned from some big mouth I met up with in the ladies' room that my tablemate was a rich-as-all-get-out widow. Then later, over the poached salmon pipérade, Mrs. Weiden and I chatted for a while. This is when I discovered that she was a true philanthropistand that she refused to take any credit for her generosity. She regarded herself as blessed to have the means to be able to help those less fortunate.
At any rate, after that evening I'd spot a line or two in the New York papers every so often mentioning that she had contributed a humongous amount to some worthy cause or thatshe'd bechairing an important, star-studded charity event. But most telling of all were the photographs I would occasionally come across. I remember a picture of her reading to the children in a hospital ward. And another showing her carrying hot meals to shut-ins. More recently there was even a shot of her dishing out food at a local soup kitchen.
It's possible you've seen her photo yourself: a very attractive lady somewhere in her forties, with a better-than-average figure, nice, regular features, and dark, shoulder-length hair, the hairline forming a widow's peak. (Some mean-spirited columnist had once written that the hairline had been surgically created. Well, that was Mrs. Weiden's business. And anyway, big deal.) Most likely, though, you'd have had to read the accompanying caption to identify her.
Still, so what if she hadn't achieved genuine celebrity status? Miriam Weiden was certainly the most impressive person I'd ever met. As far as I was concerned, she was maybe one step removed from sainthood. And for someone like that to be a target for murder?
I don't suppose that anyone is immune from evil, though. And listening to her desperate cry for help that night, it was apparent that, for whatever reason, somebody wanted Mrs. Weiden dead. And very, very soon that's exactly what she was.
Thanks in part, I'm afraid, to yours truly.
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This is my first time reading one of SE's books and I just loved it. Can't wait to read the others. Desiree Shapiro isn't your ordinary PI, which makes her very refreshing and fun.
Desiree Shapiro just arrived home and goes into her routine of first listening to the messages on her answering machine. The first entry comes from her neighbor, very excited and pleading with Desiree to hurry over. Desiree shuts down the tape and runs off to see what her neighbor needed so urgently, which turns out to be a party. Desiree, known for her appetite, enjoys the food. A week later a friend chastises Desiree for not returning her call. Desiree, thinking what happened, realizes she never listened to the messages the day of the party. One of the calls comes from philanthropist Miriam Weldon asking Desiree for help as someone is trying to kill her. Desiree calls back only to learn from Miriam¿s mother that the woman was murdered. Feeling guilty and heeding the request of the mother, Desiree begins to search for Miriam¿s murderer. Very quickly, Desiree learns that the statue on the pedestal crumbled as she finds out the truth behind the do-gooder image of the victim who almost everyone wanted dead. What makes Desiree Shapiro unique from the typical female sleuth is the fourth slice of pizza. Still that overindulgence in eating sometimes turns irritating perhaps because it hits home for many of us readers who are not Buffied. Her latest tale, MURDER CAN UPSET YOUR MOTHER, is an entertaining Manhattan who-done-it that will entertain fans as it is a cleverly designed mystery with a moral message stating that even heroes have flaws. Readers will relish (with two hot dogs mustard on rolls) Selma Eichler¿s tasty novel. Harriet Klausner