How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin
This was such a great summer read. It was a short mystery with characters that are larger than life and will make you smile while you learn the dirty secrets of the social elite of Philadelphia while trying to help solve a murder. Nora Blackbird wants to help solve the murder of a dear friend while trying to save the name of another, but does she really know anyone? Family is not what they seem, and secrets about friends come dripping out of the artwork. Nora’s world is one of disillusionment on several levels, and this book is a great introduction to what I hope will be a hilarious 10 books. I am late on the band wagon for this series, as I have learned when looking for book two that the series ends with book 10, but I am sure I will enjoy getting through the series. I have marked the next 9 books down for future beach trips and vacations. If you have not started this series, I recommend it. If you have started this series, please let me know if it is fun of a read as I hope it will be.
Character List/Book Summary:
Nora Blackbird = 31 years old, left a $2 million tax bill by her parents when they skipped town. Husband was killed by his drug dealer a few years ago. In need of a money to help pay the IRS she asks a friend, Rory, to help her get a job at his paper. Nora is a natural socialite and is given the job of being the assistant to Kitty Keough. On Nora’s first night of work she stumbles in a murder scene and wants to solve the murder of a dear friend. Does not know how to drive, takes self-defense classes.
Emma = Nora’s sister, she inherited the art collection, husband died in a car accident that almost killed her too. Loves to ride horses, injuries have prevented her from being the horse rider she once was. Is selling some of the art collection to help pay her medical bills.
Libby = Nora’s sister, inherited the family’s historic furniture, remarried after her 1st husband dies. Novice at art restoration. Goes missing shortly after the murder, and during an important wedding for her step-son.
Rory Pendergast = 85 years old, gives Nora a job at his newspaper to help her pay the bills. Nora finds him dead at his own party when Peach asked Nora to go talk to Rory and see if she could get him to come downstairs and visit with guests. Nora finds out he had two mistresses (Peach and Eloise), has a secret art collection and a public one. Nora finds out about the secret art collection and wonders how well she really knew a man she considered a grandfather. Likes fly fishing.
Kitty Keough = Social gossip queen at Rory’s newspaper, feels threatened by Nora, and makes threats against Nora and Rory when she gets drunk at Rory’s party.
Michael “The Mick” Abruzzo = Nora sold 5 acres to him, 6’4″ rumored mobster, asked Rory to help him meet Nora after he saw her crying one day, Rory loaned him money to buy land from Nora. Helps Nora try and figure out who killed Rory, as he was a good friend to Michael too. Owns several businesses, including a fly fishing business and black car service.
Rawlins = Libby’s son, can drive
Harcourt & Hilton = Libby’s twins
Lucy = Libby’s daughter
Ralph Kinstowell = Libby’s husband, Civil War buff, always trying to save Civil War memorabilia and battlegrounds. Tells Nora Libby is shopping in New York when Nora is looking for her sister. His son, from his first marriage, is getting married to Peach’s granddaughter. The wedding is costing him a fortune.
Reed Shakespeare = works for Michael, is Nora’s driver, going to college. Nora cannot get a good read on him.
Stan Rosenstate = Kitty and Nora’s boss. Gives Nora a heads up one of the times Kitty is on the war path because of Nora.
Lexie Paine = Nora’s best friend, on the museum board, a financial whiz, lets Nora spend the night when Nora finds her house broken into and ransacked.
Peach Treese = Rory’s companion for almost 30 years. Rattled at Rory’s party, her granddaughter Pamela is getting married to Ralph’s son. Pamela tells Nora that Peach wouldn’t sleep with Rory. Peach tells Nora that Rory was not able to have sex, and it didn’t matter to her, what mattered was the companionship they had. Peach and Rory argued over the Van Gaugh in Rory’s study all the time.
Jamie Scaithe = Nora’s dead husband and he were friends.
Jill Mascione = father build “Main Events” and is having a hard time with the business. Friend to Nora, argues with Ralph over payments.
Sam Mascione = Jill’s brother, sees Nora going up the stairs to talk to Rory.
Ben Bloom = Detective, asks Nora for help understanding the world he walked into with this homicide. Does not like Michael, is convinced Peach killed Rory over a lover’s quarrel since there was Viagra near Rory when he died and it was not his prescription.
Lily Pendergast = Rory’s sister lived in Palm Beach, did not talk to her brother. Came up for the party Rory threw about the newspaper’s anniversary.
Opal Pendergast = Rory’s other sister, also lived in Palm Beach, did not talk to her brother. Came up for the party Rory threw, and wanted to end the estate as fast as possible.
Del DeMartino = Michael brings Nora to his restaurant after she finds Rory dead.
Denise Trebicki = 3rd grade teacher, with a wicked jab in Nora’s self-defense class.
Eli = recently discharged from Israeli army, teaches Nora’s self-defense class.
Harold Tackett = contemporary of Rory’s, needs hearing aids, this Rory was a thief and a liar because of their art collection competitiveness.
Eloise Tackett = 72 years old, Harold’s wife, shot at Nora and Emma when they came to visit unannounced, secretly sleeping with Rory and gave him Viagra.
Jonathan Longnecker = helped Rory and Harold buy art, now works at a museum in California, was with Rory in China when he bought the folio, knows Libby had the folio. Threatens Nora, and Michael comes to her rescue.
Tom Nelson = preteen friend of Nora now in a wheelchair due to an accident, lawyer
Molly Irwin = writes for a rival newspaper, Nora goes to her party and gets a scoop from the Mayor to the chagrin of Molly and Kitty.
Jack Hardy = lawyer, Molly’s husband, fundraiser for Democrats
Audrey Weymount = lowest artist of the family, her family want to keep her as the lowest rung artists.
Connor Weymount = Audrey’s brother, Emma and him doe not like each other
Yedita Weymount = mother of the family
Scotty Wilson = Bloom’s partner, shows up at Rory’s funeral
Paddy Horgan = owns the barn/stable that Emma works at. Is not helpful to Nora and Michael when they are looking for Emma when she is missing.