cover image The Trouble with a Bad Fit: A Novel of Food, Fashion, and Mystery

The Trouble with a Bad Fit: A Novel of Food, Fashion, and Mystery

Camilla T. Crespi. HarperCollins Publishers, $21 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-017661-7

In her new adventure (following The Trouble with Going Home), Simona Griffo calls on her native Italian wits and independence to unravel a puzzling murder in Manhattan's garment district. Simona, whose day job is with an uptight advertising agency, is hired by aging (and some say, declining) designer Roberta Riddle to investigate the murder of Phyllis Striker, her fitting model who apparently, over the years, had antagonized just about everyone in her prestigious firm. Roberta hopes that her business partner, Charlie Angelo, whose bloody fingerprints are discovered at the crime scene, will be cleared. Simona's lover, New York Homicide Detective Stanley Greenhouse, is also working the case, and the parallel investigations bring friction to their relationship and danger to Simona, whose relentless curiosity brings on some of New York's more determined muggers. Having hired Dimitri, an enterprising taxi driver, for protection, Simona interviews a colorful, voluble crew of suspects (a tailor, a seamstress, the building owner) and uncovers a Byzantine web of bribery, blackmail and pure malice going back 30 years. The labyrinthine scheming diminishes the impact of Crespi's zesty characters in their vibrant city setting, deflating a tale that might otherwise have kept the reader on pins and needles. (Apr.)