Reviews

Die for Love, by Elizabeth Peters

emac021's review against another edition

Go to review page

mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.25

ssejig's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

Ah, Jacqueline Kirby, I love you. An older, sexually-liberated female who solves mysteries? Um, yes please. It's a little disconcerting to read how romances are described in this book but this was written in a different time so...
Jackie is going to a Romance Novel convention, just to get out of Dodge. Her current love is getting a little clingy and this librarian (!) needs her space. So it's off to New York and some down-time with authors. Except that it's not really less stressful. Backbiting authors, conniving agents, and sneaky reporters all add up for a scintillating time for Jackie, until one of the reporters gets murdered. And there is a surfeit of suspects so, while it took a while to get into the book, the solution was not what I expected.

easolinas's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

Elizabeth Peters is one of those rare authors who can mingle intelligent whodunnits with sheer lunatic hilarity. And rarely did she show this as expertly as in "Die For Love," a brilliantly twisting whodunnit that expertly lampoons romance novels and the writers who churn them out. Peters surrounds her acerbic heroine with mounds of puffy pink luvvyluv, but also tosses in a startling murder into the mix.

Jacqueline Kirby, seeking to expand her horizens and get out of a romantic rut, travels to New York for a romance writers' convention. After educating herself on sexy schlock, she encounters a bunch of colorful celebrities there -- a scathing columnist, a rabid feminist, an obsessive fan, an old classmate, the gorgeous and talented Queen of Romance Valerie Valentine, a sexy male writer, and a sinister yet hearty literary agent.

Then the columnist dies unexpectedly, and it seems that Valentine is the target. Jacqueline begins peeling away the layers of cotton-candy romance to find out what ugly secrets are important enough to kill for. Was it jealousy, hatred, or money? (Surprisingly, passion doesn't enter into it). Armed with the ugliest hat and the fattest purse in the world, she sets out to smoke out the killer.

"Die For Love" is a massive tonal shift for the too-short Jacqueline Kirby series. After two pretty serious, European-flavoured mysteries, suddenly we're in New York and immersed in hilarious romantic spoofery -- and you can tell Elizabeth Peters is having a delightful time mocking the romance genre.

So she intertwined satire and a clever whodunnit very nicely, swinging deftly between the funny (Jacqueline having a "war of quotes" with Hattie) and a strong collection of motives, suspects and some clever literary allusions mixed in with the over-the-top schlock. But she also reminds us of some of the more serious results of the romance genre, such as the "rape=love" message.

Jacqueline is her usual irrepressible self -- big fat purse, flamboyant clothes, and the lofty position of a librarian with a naughty streak. She steps further from "conventional detective" into her unique, perkily eccentric niche. One interesting fact is that in this book, she sets out to write a historical romance.

And she's backed by a deliciously colourful cast of characters -- demure Sue, the sexy but beleagured hunk Victor, the hilarious hardcore feminist Betsy, the bewigged and timid Valerie Vanderbilt, and the grotesquely scheming Hattie.

"Die For Love" isn't quite worth dying for, but it's not hard to love. Hilarious, barbed and relentlessly clever, this is a must-read for mystery fans... and maybe romance fans with a sense of humor.

holtfan's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3.5 stars
Die for Love is probably my favorite of the Jacqueline Kirby books so far. Jacqueline finally emerges as the indisputable main character of the series. The book has a publishing date of 1984 and feels every inch it, in the best possible way. The story mocks the romance novels (and to a lesser extent, mysteries) popular at the time and in doing so throws its lot in with second wave feminism.. But it also gently mocks feminism, because much like Jacqueline, this book is a wonderful mix of contradictions and biting commentary.
I loved the setting (an over-the-top romance writers' conference) but was less enamored with the actual mystery. I should probably go back and re-read the ending because the motive confused me but I don't really care enough to sort it out.
A fun read overall that will appeal to modern mystery readers more than the first two, but still feeling fairly vintage in setting and topic.

psalmcat's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

A Jacqueline Kirby story, in which she attends a romance author's convention as a lark & gets involved in the death of a muckraking columnist. The nasty personalities & business practices of publishing are much lampooned, as well as the romance genre as a whole of course. Funny, as usually. I want to be Jacqueline!

duffgt06's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Delightfully witty, sarcastic, and fun.

idris's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

Unterhaltsam und der Einblick in die Romantik-Buch-Szene ist großartig. Jaqueline ist wie üblich eine sehr unterhaltsame Protagonistin. Das Mordmotiv ist ein bisschen mau und einige Sachen wirken ein bisschen veraltet. (Zum Beispiel das gnadenlose Fatshaming, das Elizabeth Peters betreibt. Alle Charaktere, die übergewichtig sind, sind auch gleichzeitig dumpf, verfressen und schwitzen die ganze Zeit *Augen roll*) Abgesehen davon aber ein netter Zeitvertreib.

quietjenn's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

3 1/2. Entertaining mystery and the knowledge that Peters had firsthand knowledge of the romance-writing-and-publishing world in which it takes place added and extra layer of amusement.

eoppelt's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Yay for spoofing romance novels. Thoroughly enjoed this book. It's one of my "I'm tired and need comfort" books.

smcleish's review

Go to review page

4.0

Originally published on my blog here in November 1999.

The third Jacqueline Kirby novel is one of Elizabeth Peters' most outrageous. Setting a mystery at a romantic novels conference enables her to write several over the top spoofs of a genre almost beyond parody. Like her heroine, she clearly enjoys the bad taste piled on in such huge amounts; enough kitsch becomes fun.

Yet there are aspects of the romance industry of which Peters does not approve, and which this book criticises: the deceptions carried out on the readers, the bad treatment of the only slightly less naive authors. (As in many genre fiction, most authors start out as fans.)

As a crime novel, Die For Love has an easy puzzle, though it helps if you know some Shakespeare reasonably well. It is the background which makes it fun, along with the acerbic quality of Jacqueline.