cover image LOVE IS MURDER


Linda Palmer, , read by Celeste Lawson. . Blackstone Audiobooks, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7861-2736-8

Combining romance, humor and suspense, this offbeat debut mystery from Palmer, a screenwriting teacher and former wildlife photographer, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the soap opera industry. Narrator Lawson slips easily into the character of vulnerable Morgan Tyler, a beautiful young widow and Emmy Award-winning soap opera writer. Morgan's life begins to resemble the outlandish scripts she writes when the head of her network's daytime programming is murdered and she, as his unwitting beneficiary, becomes the prime suspect. Fortunately for Morgan, Detective Matt Phoenix seems to be interested in more than just her alibi. The characters' exchanges are fast-paced and often tinged with sarcasm, but Lawson shines in this arena, switching seamlessly among various intonations and accents, even such disparate ones as English and Southern. With its smart dialogue and quirky characters—including Morgan's "50-ish and desperate" competitor Helen and Matt's sweet-as-pie but delusional Aunt Penny—this tale is perfect for audio adaptation, and Lawson does a fine job of bringing it to life. Based on the Berkley paperback. (Aug.)