Friday, July 18, 2014

Fit to Be Dead

Author:  Nancy G. West
Genre:  Mystery

Four Stars

Aggie Mundeen, single and pushing forty, fears nothing but middle age. When she moves from Chicago to San Antonio, she decides she better shape up before anybody discovers she writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” She takes Aspects of Aging at University of the Holy Trinity and plunges into exercise at Fit and Firm.

Rusty at flirting and mechanically inept, she irritates a slew of male exercisers, then stumbles into murder. She’d like to impress the attractive detective with her sleuthing skills. But when the killer comes after her, the health club evacuates semi-clad patrons, and the detective has to stall his investigation to save Aggie's derriere.

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Aggie Mundeen is a single woman who has left her bank job (after investing a tidy amount) and moving to San Antonio, Texas, to be near the only real friend she has, her police detective friend Sam.  Sam was married to Aggie's friend Katie, but after she died, he moved to San Antonio to start again.  She wants to be more-than-friends with Sam, but doesn't know how he feels about her.

Aggie is taking classes at the local university in aspects of aging.  Aggie, it seems, is terrified of getting old, and is willing to do anything to delay that process.  Even if it means joining a health club, which she reluctantly does.  (Reluctantly, because she doesn't like to exercise).  On her first visit, she decides to use the pool, and when she gets in, there is a young woman apparently dead or dying.  She pulls her from the pool and the paramedics are called.  When the young woman, Holly, recovers, she starts blurting things out, and Aggie discovers that Holly had a child she recently gave away and now regrets.  Before Aggie can find out any more, Holly bolts.

Soon after, Holly is run over by a car and killed.  Aggie suspects it wasn't an accident, and doesn' think the "accident" at the pool was one, either; and decides to find the killer herself, because she figures that it will impress Sam and he will like her enough to want to be with her (I have no idea why she thinks this, but you soon find out Aggie's mind is a little warped on some things).  She also knows if she mentions anything to Sam about Holly being murdered, he will tell her to stay out of the investigation.  So, when Aggie starts to nose around, things begin to happen - to her.  Yet does she give up the investigation?  No.  Does she tell Sam?  No.  She plunges forward, even involving her friend Meredith; Without telling Meredith what she's really doing, of course.

I felt the beginning of the book was slow, when Aggie was sick.  (Let's just say nothing she ate would stay where she originally put it).  Anyway, as things progressed, the book definitely got better.  And, in fact, there were some flat out funny scenes that made me laugh out loud.  An especially funny one that included the members of the health club.

As we get closer to the murderer (and the person who was making the attempts on Aggie's life), things get twisted.  So twisted, that you could be driving down that road in San Francisco and it would be more direct.  Subplots wove in and out of the main one - which was to find Holly's killer - and you couldn't find closer connections if you were knitting an afghan.  Yet the clues weren't easy to spot (and even if I did, I never made the connections myself - mainly because it didn't appear that there were any).  Everything that was supposed to be a clue, panned out to be something else entirely.  But the clues are there.  Just don't give yourself a headache looking for them.  Even Aggie's story was woven into all the others - and she does have a story, true enough; and I found it interesting how everything tied together.

An easy read, enjoyable; recommended for anyone who likes mysteries with a bit of humor thrown in.  Four stars for the slow beginning, but stick with it, you'll be glad you did.

http://www.amazon.com/Fit-Dead-Aggie-Mundeen-Mystery/dp/1940976375/

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