A GIRL DETECTIVE
Biographer and amateur
sleuth Cece Caruso will freely admit that she spent
her youth idolizing girl detective Nancy Drew, a fantasy that
undoubtedly influenced her grown-up job writing biographies
of dead mystery writers. But, as Cece will discover driving
down the highway in her Jackie O sunglasses and a borrowed
baby-blue Cadillac, some fantasies die harder than others.
Researching the life of "Carolyn Keene," the pseudonymous
author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, Cece meets a flamboyant
collector of "Blue Nancys," the original books with
blue covers. When he finds out she is taking a road trip to
Palm Springs to snoop around at the annual Nancy Drew fan
convention, he offers her the use of his swanky vacation house.
But the last thing she expects to find lying around the swimming
pool is one very dead body.
In a race against time that takes her from a secret enclave
of restored Victorians near downtown L.A. to the driest stretches
of California desert, Cece will have to channel her former
idol and then some to unmask a sly killer‹before he
comes after her. Of course, it helps to have a knockout collection
of vintage clothing, though Cece prefers Azzedine Alaia semi-gloss
knits and Halston silver sequined berets to Nancy's prim suits
An imprint of
"Cece and her friends are
engaging and earnest, and the other supporting characters
are well drawn. The mystery has enough twists and red herrings
to keep readers guessing."
"Enter Sharon McCone, V.I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum.
Also Cece Caruso, whose second page-turning exploit is
"Not a Girl Detective" by Susan
Kandel. If Nancy Drew had gotten pregnant in high
school, married a philandering English prof and divorced the
bum, she would be Cece. Cece's a survivor. The story is gloriously
nostalgic, and so are her clothes...Like Nancy Drew, Cece
rescues herself. And ingeniously. With a hurled "Chicago
Manual of Style," not a bad blunt instrument for a scribe."
"The passion of her sleuth, Cece Caruso, for
vintage shoes and clothing is one of the more entertaining
quirks in a wide field. But Kandel also takes care to provide
some intellectual stimulus for Cece."
New york times book review
"Not a Girl Detective is as sparkling as a spilled packet
of Sweet ‘n Low. This is the pink mystery to
read if you're reading just one."
— Washington Post Book World
"Comic, clever and fast paced, this story zooms
from the past to the present even as the scene shifts from
LA to Palm Springs and back again. In the process, Kandel
shares tons of tidbits about the Nancy Drew mystery series
and the people who made it a success to this day."
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Full of comedy, intelligence and knowledge,
this is a mystery you want to share."
— Trenton NJ Times
"Kandel delivers on the promise of her first Cece Caruso
mystery, I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason (2004),
with this equally zany and engrossing riff on Southern California
culture past and present. Secrets within secrets tantalize
biographer Cece as she researches 'Carolyn Keene,' the pseudonym
used by the unsung authors hired by the Stratemeyer Syndicate
to write the
Nancy Drew books... In addition to all the Nancy lore, Kandel
weaves her knowledge of art into the puzzle and ties everything
into a splendid bow.
Readers will be anxious to know whose bio she'll tackle next."
— Publisher's Weekly
"Nancy's adventures were
downright staid compared with Cece's wild ones...this
is a funny, original, well-plotted murder mystery."
— Entertainment Weekly
"Beauty-queen-turned-biographer Cece Caruso...and
her two best gal pals head to the desert for a mystery conference
that includes a real live corpse...Fact-filled and funny:
a worthy successor to Cece's bright debut."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be reminded
of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum when they read
Susan Kandel's Cece Caruso capers as both are funny, plagued
by romantic problems and once on the scent of a killer, keep
tracking like obsessed bloodhounds... This is a very special
amateur sleuth tale that will be a hit with readers who love
a good puzzle to solve."
— Harriet Klausner
"Susan Kandel, who
pulled off a remarkable link between past and present
in her first mystery, "I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason,"
does the same honorable and entertaining service in her second."
"Take a shot of
Nancy Drew, add a dash of Mary Kay Andrews and a
generous splash of L.A. glam, then put them in the blender
on frappe. Voila! Out comes the fun and frothy "Not a
Girl Detective"... As much classic fun as Cece's vintage
wardrobe.. colorful characters and a well-paced story."
"Susan Kandel celebrates
Nancy's birthday with her novel inspired by Ms.Drew...
Kandel offers up a race against time, a nail-biting chase
and some unexpected twists and turns."
"There's lots of
fun Nancy Drew lore in this airy entertainment...a
"Cece Caruso returns
in Kandel's second zany mystery..."
cool, refreshingly tart summer read. Not a Girl Detective
is Susan Kandel’s second mystery featuring sleuth and
vintage-clothing fanatic Cece Caruso. While writing a book
about the Nancy Drew detective series, Cece stumbles onto
a murder mystery that might make Nancy leap into her blue
roadster and speed far away. Pick of the Week.”
"Hip, feisty Cece
Caruso is back... The characters are deliciously
drawn, the pace is snappy, and the plot twists and turns will
keep mystery lovers satisfied. As entertaining as Cece and
the other characters are, the icing on the cake is the depth
of Kandel’s research...While those who grew up with
the girl detective are the ideal audience, Cece’s wit
and tenacity as she breezes around Los Angeles and Palm Springs
make the novel an enjoyable read for anyone in the mood for
a lighthearted mystery."