Murder Me Now

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In a style befitting the slower times of an earlier era, Murder Me Now transports the reader back to the 1920’s and Prohibition. The heroine, Olivia Brown, lives a bohemian life in Greenwich Village, where bars serve “tea” that is really gin, and free love abounds. Women are becoming aware of the vote, but they still pursue genteel avocations such as poetry writing.

Fast living may have been the rage but there is nothing fast about this book. One quickly gains the impression that this is a novel of manners, with the mystery taking a back seat. Olivia Brown writes poetry and dearly loves the sonnet. Much of the book is devoted to her poetry writing and her public recitations. She also has an interest in solving mysteries, so when she attends a weekend house party in Croton and discovers the nanny’s frozen body hanging from a tree, she jumps into the investigation. The nanny’s references turn out to have been fabricated and she is rumored to have been a Pinkerton detective working undercover. Several of the murder suspects are based on real gangsters of that era. Olivia, protected by a villain named Monk Eastman and pursued by a gang called the Black Hand, finds it hard to distinguish the good guys from the bad. With a shoot-’em-up ending, she finally discovers who her friends really are.