Helen Binney has spent her life schmoozing important people as the wife of a governor until her recent divorce and retirement to their vacation home in Massachusetts in A Dose of Death by Gin Jones. Now that she has lupus, her two nieces have decided to hire a visiting nurse in concern for Helen, but Helen at once takes exception to the nurse sent to her. Melissa talks nicely to the families of her patients, but she treats Helen with condescension and seems on the verge of abuse, drowning the entire bottle of Helen’s vital medication and locking Helen into her bedroom one day. So Helen manages to escape out her bedroom window and tries to get her lawyer to get a restraining order against Melissa, an order the judge refuses. By the time Helen returns home, Melissa’s car has gone, but that night Helen spots a form outside her window and discovers the body of Melissa, beaten to death. When the police write off Helen as a potential suspect, she gets upset and decides first to try to prove that she could indeed have killed her hated nurse but then decides that since she didn’t actually committed the murder, she would be better off proving that the “Remote Control Burglar” did not kill Melissa.
Yes, their main suspect is a thief who breaks into homes and steals only remote controls or their batteries. The burglar has been at work for at least five years and has a strange pattern of acting in the fall and spring and in the afternoons, though not all victims recognize the theft right away. Helen has come to the conclusion that the burglar steals remotes as a means of exercising control over a life of annoyances.
Known as a recluse, Helen makes two real friends in her town. On the first day with Melissa, she escapes by calling a limo service and makes a close friend in the driver, Jack, who is grateful for a friendly client who pays willingly and tips like Helen. Helen meets her other friend, Tate, when she gets Jack to recommend a lawyer to her and he sends her to Tate, who is packing up to retire and has no desire to take on new cases unless they are especially interesting. So Helen promises Tate that when she murders Melissa, she’ll do it in a creative and fun way. Both characters are a lot of fun and clever to enjoy, and they both serve as great foils for Helen.
Lisa Valdini performs the narration of this book in an excellent manner. Each character’s voice suits her or him perfectly. I could see the upper class lawyer Tate versus the lower class driver Jack. I also could see how annoying Melissa must be.
I was very impressed by A Dose of Death. I loved the creative detail of Helen’s getting annoyed at not being suspected so deciding to demonstrate the possibility. I also really appreciated the way the main character suffers from lupus and is disabled by that but shows that with determination and using her contacts, she can do what is necessary. She also demonstrates that though her body may suffer, her mind is still sharp. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from the author, but it in no way affected my review.
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