cover image The Trouble with a Small Raise

The Trouble with a Small Raise

Trella Crespi, Camilla T. Crespi, T. Crespi. Zebra, $3.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-3274-8

Early one morning Simona Griffo, a young Italian art buyer for a New York advertising agency, plans to confront her boss, the agency's creative director Fred Critelli, about a raise. Fred, however, is dead, a victim of cyanide poisoning, and Simona finds herself in the thick of things when his signet ring is discovered in her desk drawer. She resolves to unravel the murder, and as the case progresses, Simona learns more about the elusive Critelli in death than she did in the two years she knew him (``He loved himself so much there wasn't room for anyone else,'' says his secretary). Simona's spirits are boosted by an attractive detective assigned to the case, but she fears he may suspect her, too. The story is replete with well-drawn characters: the former model turned account supervisor; the art director who develops a sudden interest in Simona; and the flirtatious but helpful Hispanic concierge, to name a few. Expert mystery fans will find clues throughout, but nothing spoils the fun of this thoroughly engrossing whodunit, introducing one of the boldest and most likable of female sleuths. (Jan.)