How to Crash a Killer Bash: A Party-Planning Mystery
by Penny Warner
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451230973
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In her second party planner mystery, Penny Warner uses the De Young Museum as a setting for a mystery party, but again murder disrupts the party. Since this is the second time a charity event planned by Presley Parker ends in murder, readers may wonder that Presley remains in business.
Friends from the first novel as well as her mother and Brad, the sexy Crime Scene Cleaner, also appear. Brad remains mysterious and has ties to the police, but Presley finds her attraction to him growing hotter as time passes. He helps her with her investigation to exonerate her friend and co-worker Delicia from a murder charge.
The novel begins slowly with a lot of background information on the museum and its security procedures. However, it soon speeds up and other murders occur. Delicia, who is in jail at the time, couldn't have killed the other victims. Then, someone cuts Presley's brake lines, and she undergoes a frightening ride in heavy bridge traffic until she manages to stop the car.
Presley finds a mysterious list of names and numbers in the first victim's locker, but has no idea what the list signifies. Some, but not all, of the names are donors to the museum and others are various public officials.
Warner provides plenty of motives and suspects, but astute readers will identify the killer before Presley does. Too, Presley, while suspicious of Brad, fails to question what his role is and how he keeps abreast of the police findings. A cast of lively characters lightens the reading.
This new novel is not as good as her first, How to Host a Killer Party. As before, she includes tips throughout, some tongue-in-cheek, and a guide at the end to planning a Get a Clue Party.