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How to Succeed in Murder    by Margaret Dumas order for
How to Succeed in Murder
by Margaret Dumas
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Charley Fairfax is a newlywed whose husband is every girl's dream. That is, if they happen to fall in love with a man with a murky background, who knows surveillance work but won't say why he does, who doesn't find it out of order to pack a gun, and - a bonus - knows his way around a kitchen. Charley is an heiress who has not yet found the time or inclination to furnish her new home – mansion is probably the better word. Having a large bed with said husband in it works for her. Need a meeting with her cohorts? That bed's the perfect place.

Now to the meat of the story. The owner of a large, very successful software company is sure there's a bug in his company's system that could wipe him out if activated. He hires Charley's husband to find the person responsible. At the same time, the owner's fiancée is murdered. Finding her killer takes precedence. Husband Jack and his workmates infiltrate the company to find the bug. Charley and her friends do the same, but to find the killer.

That's where the fun starts. If you can call murders fun. The action in How To Succeed in Murder is continuous and peppered with many stops for cocktails – all of which sound pretty good at this moment. The characterizations are more than believable. Charley spends a good bit of time drooling over Jack's body. Jack always seems ready to oblige her moods but he doesn't stand out somehow as a strong player. Simon, who claims he is omnisexual, is a hoot.

Readers were introduced to Uncle Harry and his bodyguard Flank in Dumas' first book, Speak Now. I would suggest reading that one first to set the stage. Both are fun books all the way through.

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