DON'T BLAME THE SNAKE by Tony Fennelly
A Margo Fortier Mystery, No. 3
Top Publications - July 2001
ISBN: 1929976054  - Hardback
Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Tom Walcher,
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During the summer of 1995, a corpse is found in a New Orleans hotel room along with the murder weapon, an eight-foot rattlesnake. The victim turns out to be Ridley P. Schuyler, anex-burgler who, upon release from prison, became a best selling author. He was scheduled to be part of a mystery conference aboard a cruise ship.

Margo Fortier, a former stripper turned society columnist, and her husband Julian, a publisher for a small press, are also attending the mystery conference. While on board, Margo gets involved in another murder.

I found the book enjoyable on two levels. Of course, the first level is the murder mystery itself. The suspects were an interesting group as would be at any mystery conference including my favorite, a professor trying to find someone to read his version of the great American novel. It took some work on my part to figure out who the murderer is. The murderer made sense based on the clues that were revealed.

The second level is that there were many observations on various topics. Of course, there are comments made about mystery conferences and the mid list mystery writer's position in the publishing world. But there are also observations made on many social issues. Since the novel takes place in the summer of 1995, the O.J. Simpson trial is used as a recurring theme throughout the novel. Since I never understood the public's fascination with this, by reading this novel, I may have gotten some clues why.

At times, I laughed as I read this book. Other times, I got upset with some things that occurred. But any book that can get you emotionally involved with it is a winner in my view.

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