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Book Review: Retirement Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

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Retirement Can Be Murder: A Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mystery, by Susan Santangelo, is the first book in a new series which talks about life changes as seen through a woman's perspective. Carol Andrews has known for a while about the unhappiness her husband, Jim, experiences as part of his work environment. Even though he's younger than the typical age when most hang up their career hats, he is nevertheless surprised to deal with a bigger problem.

A man who specializes in post retirement planning is found dead in his office one day. This wouldn't be an issue if Jim hadn't been the one to discover the corpse. Whoops! Hijinks ensue as Carol races to prove the police wrong and show Jim is not the culprit they seek.

For a first time author, Santangelo does not do too badly with this selection. She captures well the anxiety of a wife who must face the reality of her life turning upside down. Good thing she has her friends to help.

These three characters are perhaps the best part of the book. Mary Alice, Nancy, and Claire are as different as they can be; however, their bond is a long one forged over time. They have gone through all parts of life — sicknesses, widowhood, seeing children grow up to finally leave home for good. As long as they have one another, though, they have the strength to continue on no matter what comes up.

In Carol's case, she has the additional snag in seeing her daughter come home from California. The boyfriend did not work out, but daughter Jenny finds out for herself just how rotten her guy is. Readers with offspring will understand the dilemma — does a parent stay out of the way and let the child learn or try and stop disaster before it strikes? It's not an easy choice, but it must be made anyway.

I also like the character of Mark Anderson, whose cop career is at odds with his liking of a family who has known him for many years. They have watched him grow up, too. Does he ignore evidence to let a criminal get away with homicide? Since there is not exactly another suspect around, the task is a daunting one.

Santangelo, in addition to being a professional writer, is a breast cancer survivor of ten years. She helped found the Breast Cancer Survival Center in Connecticut. This facility gives support as well as education about cancer to those who have had treatment. A portion from each book sold goes to this group.

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