Once Upon A Romance

Once Upon A Romance's Review Of...
What are Friends For? by Caroline Taylor


Cover art: What are Friends For? Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: What are Friends For? - A P.J. Smythe Model novel
Author: Caroline Taylor
Publisher: Gale/Five Star
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-956-6
Release Date: March 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Annapolis
Overall Rating: 3.5
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Caroline's Website/Blog: None found

P.J. Smythe is helping her best friend Alicia make a documentary about a new private eye who is learning through being on the job. When P.J.’s first client, Vivian Remington, is found dead of a suspected overdose, P.J. finds that her past isn’t very far behind her. She ‘may’ have gotten even with a cheating boyfriend in college by flushing all the drugs he was selling. The cops couldn’t get her on any charges (although they tried hard), but they have a long memory of suspected drug dealers.

To clear up her own name—and that of Vivian Remington—she must take matters into her own hands and become the P.I. that she’s been portraying for the documentary. Alicia does promise to get her a top-notch lawyer if she’s arrested.

A lot of what happens spoofs the classical forties and fifties private eye shows. Even the office Alicia rents for her is set as a 50’s style office, complete with typewriter instead of computer. To really top off her week, P.J. is not only dodging the police for drug and murder charges, trying to get rid of her ex-husband who wants to move in and mooch off her, and not let her uncle (and boss) realize why she’s not getting as much done at work as normal.

This was a really cute story, although I thought there were too many subplots. All of the extra stories going on made it difficult to track the main events and figure out where the book was heading. I liked P.J.’s fire. She reminded me quite a bit of Lucille Ball with her less than perfect choices and the comical events that occur when she makes them. P.J. has a lot of spunk, and I like that in a character.

Some of the minor characters were terrific. Many of them were almost caricatures of the profession they were in. It really put some moments of humor into the drama. The ending was very exciting and wrapped up the story well. I think everyone will be surprised to find out who really killed Vivian.


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