Don't get me wrong; it's a cute cover. Quaint and colorful, which makes sense since Torrey Chanslor, the illustrator and author, was one of the major illustrators of children's books way back in the 1940s.
The title was another giveaway: Our First Murder. Sounds cozy, doesn't it? That's because Our First Murder, despite the PI trappings, is actually a cozy mystery.
Two elderly spinsters, AMANDA and LUTIE BEAGLE, inherit a New York detective agency from their estranged brother. The Beagle sisters (great name, isn't it?) give up their life of knitting and baking and gardening, and move to Manhattan with their middle-aged cousin Martha (who functions as a kind of Watson) where they immediately become embroiled in a case involving a headless corpse in a theatrical boarding house.
Amanda, the elder sister, is the hard-headed commonsensical (but with a marshmallow heart, naturally) one; her pithy comments are as pointed as her knitting needles.
Lutie, who received her training between the pages of hard-boiled detective novels, does most of the actual investigating. She carries a pearl-handled revolver in her purse, and is a crack shot. They are aided in their efforts by cousin Marthy and young Jefferson Mahoney.
Our First Murder is an amusing hybrid, most definitely suited to a cozy audience.
The Beagle sisters returned in Our Second Murder and then vanished from the mystery scene. Their adventures are being reprinted by The Rue Morgue Press.
Report respectfully submitted by Diana Killian.
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