Organize Your Corpses
by Mary Jane Maffini
Review by Carolyn Frank
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425215807
Date: 01 May 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Every amateur detective needs a professional career, and Charlotte Adams is a professional organizer. In Organize Your Corpses, Charlotte attempts to tidy up both houses and deaths, the first a job she does exceedingly well as she is a compulsive neatnik, and the second a job she needs to get better at fast since she has become the prime suspect. Normally, Charlotte organizes space and the objects that should or should not be there. However, when she gets a call from a formerly hated school teacher to clean out a recently inherited house, Charlotte does not realize that she is getting set up to take a rap. When she goes to the house, she finds a dead body under the junk. Making everything worse, her former best friend with whom she is no longer speaking, is now Detective Sergeant Pepper Mohahan who is eager to quickly solve the murder by pinning it on Charlotte.
Charlotte is "helped" is her endeavors to find out what really happened by her two rescued miniature dachshunds: Truffle and Sweet Marie. Small, noisy, curious and as bad as opossums in dragging off to hide anything they can sink their tiny teeth into, they also demand walks, chase cats and provide infinite amounts of doggy love. They willingly attack her enemies, though their efforts are mostly limited by their diminutive size to ankle biting.
More practical assistance is provided by her old fried and landlord, Jack Reilly, an avid cyclist who wants to set up his own cycle shop. As excellent though messy cook, Jack provides reasonable advice along with dinner and somewhat effectual rescues from the various predicaments into which Charlotte gets herself. Highly involved with the local animal rescue group, he keeps attempting to add a very large rescue dog to Charlotte's already frenetic life. Advice of a more romantic nature comes from Charlotte's best friend, Sally. Married to a doctor and with three small hyperactive kids, Sally is usually willing to lend an ear, and in return for babysitting, her efforts on Charlotte's behalf.
A new cute guy has appeared in town taking photographs of buildings with interesting architecture, and Charlotte is just starting to be ready to date again. All this would be just fine if she could just learn something more about the Henleys, owners of the inherited house and the family of the dead woman that Charlotte found. Set in the small town of Woodbridge, New York, the book focuses on the main families in town and their history as reflected in the history of the town.
A classic mystery, sufficient information is provided to lead both Charlotte and the reader to the true murderer. Organization does not have much to do with uncovering the truth, but the power of friendship is vividly portrayed and the truth ultimately comes to light. And, in addition to a rousingly good tale, a set of highly useful organizing tips are provided.