Authors Showcase: Prescription for Murder by E. E. Smith
October 27, 2014
The Book: Prescription for Murder
The Author: E. E. Smith
The Story: It was announced that Alexis J. Smith, an American private investigator, had married Detective Inspector Harry Hawkins of Scotland Yard that morning on the island of Majorca. But, in fact, a mysterious telegram addressed to Lexie and allegedly signed by her sister Mary, had arrived saying that their mother was ill and needed her desperately. Trouble is, their mother had been dead for three years. So who sent the wire, and why? Someone needed her, that much was clear, and Lexie feels she must fly home and find out who it is. Of course, the wedding is off.
Back home in Sacramento, she learns that a U.S. congressman from that district has been poisoned, and one of her friends is about to be charged with the crime. A second murder, of the druggist who dispensed the lethal prescription to the congressman, now points to the Irish Mafia. In the meantime, Mary is kidnapped by the Mob and held prisoner while Lexie is sent to Ireland to find, and bring back, a young woman who had fled the country to escape the attentions of one of the Mob bosses. Her sister’s life depends on a successful mission, but Lexie has double-crossed powerful organizations before, and may have to do it again.
In the meantime, Harry Hawkins will bend every rule of Scotland Yard to help her, but will it be enough? Is this the end, or merely the closing of the circle?
About E. E. Smith:
E. E. (Evelyn Eileen) Smith first attended the University of Iowa, and later received a B.A. in Fine Arts from California State University Long Beach.
Known earlier as a playwright, her works include PLAYTIME IN LONDON; BOARDINGHOUSE STEW; WARTIME RECIPES; THE TEMPERATE ZONE (based on Edith Wharton’s short story); GHOST WRITERS (based on two stories by Wharton and Henry James); RUNAWAY TRAINS; A FLAG FOR MARIA; PRIVATE LIES (a spoof on the play by Noel Coward); REVELATIONS, A GAME FOR THREE OR MORE COUPLES; three one-act plays, together titled RYAN’S REUNION, and a collection of ten-minute comedies together titled THE BRITISH ARE COMING.
E. E. Smith lives close to her native San Francisco where she now writes books and short stories instead of plays. One story was published in Writers’ Forum: Britain’s Best Magazine for Writers, in 2006. The play, WARTIME RECIPES, first performed in Oklahoma City in 1998, was reprised there in 2010. Her first novel, BOARDINGHOUSE STEW, was published in 2009, and the New Edition published in 2011. The second novel, TIMES LIKE THESE, was also published in 2011, and IN LOVE AND WAR, a memoir, was published in 2012. She is now writing a murder mystery series, the first to be published late in 2013.
Review by MikiHope: This is the third book I’ve read by E.E. Smith. The second was Russian Roulette – The first was Death by Misadventure – All these books can be read as a stand alone but it is always fun to read a series in order. I read them in order and it did help at times.
Just as Alexis J. Smith, an American private investigator and Detective Inspector Harry Hawkins of Scotland Yard decide to tie the knot while on vacation in Majorca- something stops them (even though an announcement of their marriage has hit the local paper). Alexis receives a letter from her sister that their Mother is deathly ill. Hum, let’s see–she does not get along with her sister at all and their Mom has been dead for many years. Alexis needs to solve this and back she runs to the States to figure it all out, before actually marrying Harry!
Review by Karen Hancock: Prescription for Murder is E.E. Smith’s fourth installment in the Alexis J. Smith Discreet Inquiries Mysteries. Alexis and her beau, Harry Hawkins, are vacationing in Majorca in a little village called Porto Cristo. Alexis has just purchased a wedding dress, and they have made arrangements for the ceremony. However, Lexie receives an urgent telegram from her sister, Mary, asking her to come to Sacramento because their mother is ill. The problem is, Lexie’s mother died years ago, and she is not close to her sister. Lexie chooses to skip her wedding and immediately go to Sacramento. Once there, Lexie teams up with friend and FBI agent, Kit Carson. A senator has been murdered, and their friend, Nikki Yamaguchi’s fingerprints are in the senator’s study. Because of that and other circumstantial evidence, Nikki is in jail, charged with the murder. As the story unfolds, there are plenty of twists and turns, including association with the Irish Mafia, who threatens the lives of both Lexie and Mary.
This historical/police procedural suspense novel takes place in 1949; the author not only lived during that time, but has obviously done research to create scenarios that ring true. Readers will get a feel for the time period, and how crimes were solved before cell phones and computers. Throughout the series, Lexie seems to be a magnet for trouble and dangerous situations, often needing others to rescue her. Smith has done a good job of showing most of the characters as regular people with common flaws (i.e., Kit is quite arrogant, etc.), but it seems a bit odd that Lexie could be on the verge of getting married and shows little or no emotion when the wedding is called off and she travels back home to solve a mystery. That said, it seems that a little more time could have been spent on the characterizations of Lexie and Harry.
Prescription for Murder is a fast read; it is well-written, professionally edited, and doesn’t contain graphic sex or violence. It’s a fun novel for suspense readers of almost any age, and is definitely recommended for those who want a taste of life in the 1940s.
All kinds of mayhem occur. Alexis’ sister is kidnapped and people are dying all over the place. Will Alexis be able to solve these murders? Will she be able to save her sister? Will she live long enough to actually marry Harry? And I have a question for E.E. Smith–is this the ending of this series or will there be (hopefully) more?