Thursday, March 19, 2009

Margaritas & Murder (Murder, She Wrote series)

This time, out of my blog theme, I wrote this novel review in English. Partly because the novel itself is written in English, and also because I want to improve my English writing, which is very important for me in order to manage my internet marketing businesses. it is...


Murder, She Wrote is a serial of mystery novel that have been broadcasted as a television series years ago. This book, Margaritas & Murder, was written by Jessica Fletcher, who placed herself at the main character of the mystery: a famous female mystery writer named Jessica Fletcher.

Everything was started when Jessica became a guest-speaker on a seminar about ‘crime writers’ in a library on Manhattan, USA. Vaughan Buckley, Jessica’s publisher and good friend, together with his wife Olga also attended the event. The Buckleys has a house in Mexico, and they had invited Jessica to stay with them for a couple of weeks vacation. However, as Jessica still have other tasks to complete as a writer (book signing tour and an interview for TV show), she must delay her trip to Mexico, while the Buckleys had left for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico two days before.

When Jessica can finally get a seat on the morning flight to Mexico City, and a booked connecting flight to Léon, she did not aware that the trip is going to be a long and unforgettable experience. First, she got stuck in Benito Juárez International Airport of Mexico City because the flight to Léon has been delayed until the night. So, Vaughan suggested her to take a taxi to down town, to a Hotel Majestic for a wonderful food and spectacular view, and perhaps some stroll around the square. Why not? Jessica thought, so she did it. A kind-hearted taxi driver took her to see around the city, and then took her safely back to the airport.

Second obstacle to Jessica’s trip is when she found out that the Del Baijo Airport at Léon was closing before her ride to San Miguel de Alende, provided by the Buckleys, has even arrived. She could not get any taxi, nor hotel to stay for the night. Eventually, a cleaning service man approached her and suggested that his son could take Jessica to Buckleys residence by car. She thanked the man, and began the night journey along with Juanito, a young man with very poor English and an old car! If only Jessica have had heard about the crimes which often occurred in Mexico and delayed her journey until the next morning, she might not have been in a great danger like what she had that night.

The car suddenly hit a rock placed in the middle of the climbing road to the mountain, and stopped. It was a robbery! A man, the bandidos, forced Jessica to give him her purse, her money and her most precious treasure: her ring. It was a gift from her late husband Frank. Although in such dramatic condition, Jessica could remember that the bandit was sick. He was having a difficult breathing and some heavy coughing. The bandit dissapeared as quick as he appeared on the scene, and a police who is sent by Vaughan finally came there to bring Jessica safely to Buckley’s residence. Ready to compensate her delayed vacation in Mexico!

San Miguel de Alende is a small but nice town. Although being a new comer, the Buckleys have got many good friends and neighbors. Jessica has tasted many delicious Mexican food such as quesadillas or polo almendrado, enjoyed the town view, and even has made acquaintance with the local chief of police: Chief Javier Rivera. Everything seemed running very well, but not for long!

The nightmare came when Vaughan decided to take a part in mail run project together with his neighbour, Woody, a late US Army. Mail services in San Miguel de Alende is bad, and most of the times important mails had never reached the receiver. That’s why Woody took initiative by picking up the mails from Laredo post office for all residents. This time, he invited Vaughan to join him. His wife’s concerns about his safety among the bad safety issues of Mexican roads did not stop Vaughan’s excitement in this adventurous trip (just like all retired mens will).

A mystery began to show its face when Jessica saw the bandidos who robbed her at the night of her arrival in Mexico. The man is a balloon vendor in the local park named El Jardin. She recognized him by his coughing and his sound of breathe, and his disappearance after seeing Jessica assured her that he was the robbery. But nothing she can do about it, especially when Vaughan did not appeared on the night he was scheduled to arrive from Laredo mail run. Olga got panicked, and also all the Buckleys friends and neighbors.

It was Chief Rivera who brought the bad news: the police found the car, damped on the street, but not the two men who were supposed to ride it. The only thing they found was a handkerchief that Olga had given Vaughan to remind him of her, full of blood...

So, Jessica began her mystery adventure based on her knowledge of criminology and her mystery writings, combined with those of Chief Rivera. Both of them found the body of Woody, dead, not far from the car. But before Jessica had chance to forward the bad news to Olga, she found out that most of the neighbors had gathered at the Buckleys home. They are Cathie and her husband Eric Gewirtz who helped Vaughan installed his media player; Roberto, who insisted to get Jessica as his co-writing for a novel, and Dina Fisher, his wife. There are also a lovely lady painter Sarah Christopher, who Olga think has a crush on Vaughan; and Guy and Nancy Kovach. Guy is a stock broker. Apparently something big has happened when Jessica went to the crime scene with Chief Rivera. It was the headline of the local newspaper that stated that the kidnappers asked for one million US Dollars ransom, which make Olga decided to leave immediately for US to manage the financial things. She left Jessica the authority to take care everything while she’s gone and do whatever the best for Vaughan’s life.

Everybody believed at first that it was a gang who did it for ransom. Everyone accept Jessica. She got suspicious because someone already knew about the ransom and sent it to the newspaper before the kidnappers themselves asked for ransom. She decided to investigate the case by herself. The kidnappers must have known the exact time when Vaughan was scheduled to pass that road on the way home. That means the friends and neighbors! On her second visit to El Jardin, she met the balloon vendor again. She saved his little daughter from a bus accident when the little child played. The balloon vendor looked at her at that time with tears on his eyes.

Jessica had just interviewed Philip, Woody’s son and Sarah, when something strange happened. She got a message from an unknown sender to have a meeting in a busy cafe. Seems it had something to do with Vaughan’s case.

A Father Alfredo told Jessica that someone had thanked her for saving his child: it was the balloon vendor! He knew where Vaughan was kept (he’s alive!), and wanted to help Jessica. So he made arrangement to let Jessica, helped by Father Alfredo, to release him. The mission succeeded, Vaughan was alive, so that he can told the police the whole story. But the question was still unanswered. Who had wanted the ransom? It was somebody close to them, who knew that Vaughan and Woody were going to Laredo and when they would be riding home. Someone within them, which one?? Anyone can guess?

From what Jessica (the real writer) described, I can guess that it was Sarah. Jessica ‘put too many suspicious things on Sarah’s end’, including her relationship with Woody and Philip. But what most intriguing, was the man behind it, who had worked together with Sarah to rob the Buckley’s money. He who must live only from the state’s military pension....

Jessica Fletcher is not Agatha Christie, and her mystery writing is not bringing much of mystery nor thriller as Agatha Christie. But for an enjoyable English reading, she has done her job well.


  1. blm baca bukunya nih Mbak, tp kayanya menarik :)

  2. Lumayan bagus kok. Aku beruntung dapet diskonan di Gramed nih..

  3. hmmm...beda yah ma Agatha? padahal aku fans agatha sejak SMU euy!! Bisa masuk list "my wish" deh :D