Monday, February 8, 2010

Murder Can Upset Your Mother by Selma Eichler

Book Details
Murder Can Upset Your Mother by Selma Eichler
Paperback, 272 pages
2001, Signet
ISBN: 0451202511
Series: Book 8 of Desiree Shapiro Mysteries

An irreverent little old lady who loves food and loathes physical activity, Shapiro defies all private investigator stereotypes. Her present case entails finding the murderer of Miriam Weiden, a wealthy philanthropist who had begged for help via Shapiro's answering machine just hours before her death. As she questions Weiden's secretary, housekeeper, chauffeur and relatives, Shapiro learns that the public do-gooder had many enemies. Erna Harris, Weiden's secretary, reveals that her employer would become enraged when she failed to garner sufficient press coverage for her appearances. In addition, Weiden apparently claimed that she had adopted a biracial baby girl in Switzerland when the baby was really her own out-of-wedlock child. Other rumors suggest that Weiden may have driven her husband to suicide and that she later sought solace in the arms of a married man.

Murder Can Upset Your Mother is one of those mysteries where in the beginning no one has any possible motive to commit the murder, but by the end everyone could have and probably should have done it. It was virtually impossible to figure out who the murderer was, even though the clues were completely laid out for you. The mystery was entertaining with many secrets revealed and a couple of really surprising twists.

Unapologetically full-figured private investigator Desiree Shapiro is smart, sassy and always wants to see the best in people. I enjoyed the character and loved her self-acceptance, but the almost constant descriptions of her every meal got to be a distraction from the story. I appreciate that she isn't going to starve herself to become a socially acceptable size, but I didn't need to know exactly what she ate every time she ate something.

Desiree considered eating eggplant parmigiana for a moment at one point in the story. She didn't actually cook it or eat it, yet the recipe was included in the back of the book. I found it a little strange, but maybe it was an attempt to appeal to culinary mystery fans.

Murder Can Upset Your Mother is the 8th book in the series, but wouldn't be confusing if read as a stand-alone mystery as I did. I would definitely recommend Desiree Shapiro to cozy mystery fans but they find them difficult to find as some of the earlier books appear to be currently out of print. If you do manage to come across them, check them out.


Selma Eichler's website


  1. Oh I LOVE the sound of this. I'm off to add it to my list. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Hmmm.. it does sound interesting. I do like a good cozy and a free recipe, even better. THanks for the review.