The Murder of Miranda

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Author: Millar, Margaret Ellis (1915-1994) inscribed

Year: 1979

Publisher: Random House

Place: New York


240+[1 bio] pages. Octavo (8 1/2" x 6") bound in original publisher's quarter black paper with silver lettering to spine over beige boards with Random House blind-stamp to cover in original jacket. Inscribed by the author. First edition.

There has been a satiric wrinkle in most of Millar's work since the late Fifties, but here the comic energy just about swamps everything else--mystery included. The detective is again lawyer Tomas Aragon (Ask for Me Tomorrow), but mostly Tom just plays straight man for all the flaky folks who hang out at Southern California's posh Penguin Beach Club: impossibly precocious nine-year-old Freddy; the girlish, aging, semi-retarded daughters of a retired Admiral; a senile rumor-monger; and vain, fiftyish widow Miranda, who runs off with the Penguin's macho lifeguard, followed by Tom--who's working on her late husband's pathetic estate. Where's the murder, you ask? Not till the last 50 pages, when impoverished Miranda, deserted by her lifeguard, takes a job as governess to those two addled daughters-and becomes the prime suspect when their mother is burned to death in a suspicious fire. Some of the black comedy and rosy repartee is indeed hilarious, and Tom remains appealing (in a manner reminiscent of Millar's husband--Ross Macdonald) Kirkus Review.

Margaret Ellis Millar (née Sturm) (February 5, 1915 – March 26, 1994) was an American-Canadian mystery and suspense writer. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, she was educated at the Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate Institute and the University of Toronto. She moved to the United States after marrying Kenneth Millar (better known under the pen name Ross Macdonald). They resided for decades in the city of Santa Barbara, which was often used as a locale in her later novels under the pseudonyms of San Felice or Santa Felicia.


Inscribed on the half title page else a near fine copy in a fine jacket.

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