Murderers Prefer Blondes

Written by Amanda Matetsky
Review by Ellen Keith

The intrepid heroine of this mystery is one Paige Turner (and don’t think she hasn’t been teased about that!), a secretary-cum-dogsbody at Daring Detective magazine in 1954. As “sexual harassment” had yet to make it into the lexicon, she must put up with the leers and incompetence of her male superiors at the magazine with little hope of a promotion. However, when she recognizes the newspaper photo of murder victim Babs Comstock, she takes it upon herself to investigate, hoping to solve the crime so she can write it up for the magazine and gain a promotion to staff writer.

Although the 1950s are often viewed through the haze of nostalgia, Matetsky reminds the reader why women might not be inclined to give it such a rosy glow. Paige’s office servitude and the lack of options available to women (the victim, Babs Comstock, ended up a prostitute) add as much to the realism of the story as lunches at the Automat, Evening in Paris perfume, and rent in New York City in the double digits. Paige’s best friend, beatnik Abby Moskowitz, and potential suitor Sergeant Dan Street provide both levity and support, making Paige’s life less grim. Matetsky has a lively style that makes me look forward to Paige Turner’s next adventure.