Murdered, My Sweet

Murdered, My Sweet

by Joan Lowery Nixon

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Overview

Jenny Jakes and her mother, a famous mystery writer, travel to San Antonio to see their cousin, Arnold Harmony, who's made his fortune in the chocolate business. Harmony, an eccentric millionaire, wants his will read publicly before he dies; since everyone wants a piece of the pie, this announcement causes quite a stir. When Harmony's son is murdered just before the reading, Jenny's mother decides to spring into action as a real-life detective. But Jenny's mother doesn't have a clue about solving a real crime, so it's up to Jenny to use her wits, not only to save her mother's reputation, but also to keep herself from being killed.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385322454
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/1997
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.79(d)
Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Joan Lowery Nixon is the only four-time winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Best Young Adult Mystery Award.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



It 's not easy being related to a woman who's famous for murdering people.

Don't get me wrong. Mom's not a real murderer. She's Madeline Jakes, the most famous mystery writer in the United States maybe the world. She's a good writer, too, I've never met anyone who could read one of Mom's novels late at night and not have to sleep with the bathroom light on.

So many people have seen Mom's picture on the back of her book jackets and watched her being interviewed on TV that they recognize her in public places. "There's Madeline Jakes!" some whisper. Some point. Maybe because they've been watching too much television, I notice some glance around to see if Mom's with the police, helping to solve a murder at that very moment.

Solve a murder? Mom? It's actually funny. My mom is a woman who half the time can't even figure out where she put her car keys or placed her glasses. She rarely remembers birthdays or doctor appointments or speaking engagements unless she's reminded, Mom has never solved a murder in her life, except for the murders in her books. Because she makes those up, she knows from the very beginning "whodunnit." I don't count them.

Try telling that to Mom. She's actually started to believe what she reads about herself, because when fans ask her about real cases she's solved, she doesn't come right out and say, "What cases? The police have never once asked for my help." Instead she smiles as though she has a big secret. She even giggles, which is really gross behavior for a forty-three-year-old woman. When I hear her murmur something about classified information, I want to . . . well, just imagine!

"If I only hadthe chance, Jenny," Mom said to me recently, "I know I could use my skills as a mystery writer to solve real crimes.

"Mom," I reminded her, "it's your brother who solves real crimes. Uncle Bill's a homicide detective. You're a writer. You use your imagination and your computer to give your fans stories about make--believe murders.''

Mom tapped a pencil against her nose, smiled, and gazed far away. "But if I had the chance to solve a real crime," she insisted, "I know I could."

It wouldn't have done any good to answer. I fought back the resentment that sometimes boils up and threatens to choke me when Mom goes off into her fictional world like one of her own characters. That's when, more than ever, I wish that Dad were still alive, because whenever Mom became a sailboat, Dad was there as an anchor. And sometimes I want to scream at Mom, "You're the mother, not me! You're supposed to be taking care of me! Why do I end up having to take care of you?"

Dad had been an officer in the Air Force, and we were transferred so much we were never able to make friends who were keepers. When I was little it didn't matter to me, because there were always kids around to play with, but Mom likes people and badly wanted friends, so everywhere we went she joined clubs and took classes in whatever was handy. That's how she became interested in writing. She signed up for a class in "How to Write a Mystery Novel," and found as she told us where she truly belonged.

Her books were published, but Mom didn't make much money with them for the first few years. And when Dad's plane crashed, Mom was so heartbroken I thought she'd never be able to write again. But Mom has always had courage and spunk, and one day she told me, "Jenny, if I work hard and write books that people want to read, I know that someday I can make a good life for you.

Maybe Mom knew all along that her books would be best-sellers and she'd be famous. And maybe somewhere inside her all along was the persona that blossomed overnight. A publicist advised her, "Don't go to interviews or talk shows as a pleasant neighbor-next-door. Your public wants to see a writer of mysteries. That means glamour . . . drama . . . pizzazz!"

The chiffon scarves, the drama, and the "darlings" fit Mom like a beautiful new dress. I didn't mind at first. Mom had always been filled with imagination and fun. However, her new personality has a downside. It may be that the glamorous mystery writer is no longer able to handle all the mundane, routine details of life by herself. Or maybe she enjoys leaving them behind and joining the social life of many of the famous people she meets. Whatever the reason, I end up having to do a lot of the mothering. I'm too young to be a mother especially my mother's mother but there's nothing I can do about it.

In spite of having to deal with a mother who spends much of her life in never-never land, I love my mom. I really do, even during the moments when we seem to be trying to drive each other crazy.

When Mom's not mentally off somewhere inside the story she's writing, she's fun to be with, and often, when she goes away on weekends or holidays, for autographings or to give lectures, she takes me with her. I swim in the hotel pool or lie on the beach, and eat great food. When people smile and ask me, "Do you ever help your mother solve mysteries?" I answer, "I'm the one who helps her remember where she's going so she can catch her plane on time."

They think that's a great joke. Unfortunately for me it isn't a joke.

I've always liked to read mysteries. I think it's because I love the challenge of spotting clues and figuring things out. I started reading Nancy Drews when I was seven. I soon graduated into young adult mysteries stacks and stacks of them and now I'm into some of Dad's old Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald stories, and Mom's Sue Grafton and Mary Higgins Clark novels.

I'm pretty good at figuring out whodunnit before the last big scene, but Mom never can. At first I thought that her mind went off in directions she'd take if she were writing the story. Or that she got sidetracked by the characters. Or that maybe she became too tangled in motives and means to recognize the crucial clue when she saw it. But I realized what the problem was when, one day, Mom showed me how she developed and put together the parts of a story.

Copyright© 2004 by Joan Lowery Nixon

Interviews

Perhaps because I based a mystery on a murder that took place in my own neighborhood because I didn't believe the police had completely solved it (Whispers from the Dead), or perhaps because a great many people were devoted fans of Angela Lansbury's Murder She Wrote, I began to be asked the same question: 'Do the police ask you to help them solve crimes?' The answer was no, of course, but there was always the temptation to allow the questioners to maintain their belief that the police depended upon me wholeheartedly. So I began thinking, What if? What if I were a teenage girl whose mother is a famous mystery writer? What if my mother begins to take herself too seriously? What if my mother and I are present at a family gathering when a real murder takes place and everyone expects my mother to solve it? The problem? My mother can plot a good mystery, but as to solving them, she hasn't a clue. However, I do. My uncle is a homicide detective, and I've learned quite a bit from him. So my task is to solve the crime but save my mother's reputation by letting everyone (including my mother) think she did it.

—Joan Lowery Nixon

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Murdered, My Sweet 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel, Murdered, My Sweet, by Joan Lowery Nixon, is a great book for anyone who loves mysteries. Jenny and her mom, Madeline Jakes a famous mystery writer, are the main characters of the novel. Jenny and her mom visited San Antonio to attend a party where her mom’s cousin, Arnold Harmony the founder of Harmony Chocolates, was going to announce his new changes of his will. The party was held at the a hotel. The guest at the party were both family members and family friends. Right before the new will was read, a man comes running in and announces that Mr. Harmony's son, Porter, has been murdered. After the announcement of Porter’s death, Jenny and her mom rush to find out more clues about the murder. After the murder Jenny met a guy named Carlos and her mom met Detective Donovan. Throughout the rest of the novel these four work together to solve the murder. As they got more and more clues, people began to target Jenny and her mom. While Jenny and her mom were taking a picture outside the hotel, a flower pot was pushed over the edge. Luckily Carlos pushed Jenny and her mom out of the way, so no one was hurt. Later when Carlos and Jenny went out to eat, a mysterious person saw Jenny and started chasing after both of them. This was the second time Jenny saw this mystery person. The first time was when Jenny was taking the will to Detective Donovan and her mom. After being chased back to the hotel, Jenny explained everything to Donovan and her mom. The past couple days Jenny, Carlos, Donovan, and her mom asked questions and gathered info. Everyone at the party was a suspect. As the days passed, the suspect list got smaller and smaller. Finally after weeks of collecting clues, they are able to figure out who the murderer were. After the murder was solved Carlos posted a article in the newspaper about the investigation. While the investigation was going on Carlos was taking notes himself. He told Jenny that he wouldn't post the information anywhere because Jenny didn't want her mom's reputation to be ruined. But Carlos did anyways and Jenny was furious. But the article in the newspaper ended up being really good and everyone loved it and it didn't effect her mom’s reputation. Jenny and her mom had a couple days to spend time with Carlos and Donovan. After that they went home being able to remember that they were apart of solving a murder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it was such a page turner definatly for mystery readers
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Guest More than 1 year ago
jenny and her great novelist of a mother soon find themselves tangled in a murder. while she tries to protect her mothers reputation as the mystery queen by leading her by the hand, she must keep them safe from the dangerous killer lurking.its a juice story with a lemon-squeeze of humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was very good i liked the way after every chapter it kept you wanting for more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
MURDERED, MY SWEET This book was the best thing that I have read my whole life. I am going to tell you why you should read this book. One of the things I want you to know is. It all started when Jenny Jakes and her mom go to San Antonio for a birthday party. Porter Harmony GETS KILLED! By an unsuspected killer. The only ones who know of this are Booth Dock man and Logan Harmony. Before you know it Logan gets killed. How exciting. The next thing I want to tell you is you is how Jenny Jakes gets a role in this whole mix-up. Jenny Jakes is a 16 year old girl who basically takes care of her mother because her mom goes into Audrey Downing land (Audrey is a character in her mothers mystery novels she wrights). And to top it off Jenny is basically the one who actually solves the mystery, because you see her mom thinks she a real detective, but her brother in-law or brother is. The last thing I want to tell you is if you like Joan Lowery then you will love this book. Why? She is the best selling author since 1997. She also is a four time Edgar award winner. So in conclusion I can¿t tell you anymore except you got to read this book, oh and enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. It wasn't your typical murder mystery. It had twists and turns, and makes you want to keep reading until you finish the book! This book had a little bit of everything, so even if you don't like mysteries, you will definatly like this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joan Lowery Nixon, is my absollute fav author. She alwayz amazes me and hooks me onto her books. I luv all of the books that she has written. I hav read just about all of her books. This book is great from beginin to end. Enjoy readin it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Murdered, My Sweet I reccommend for everyone to read this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, i think the book rocks!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just one of the many I've read by Nixon. Once I started I was hooked. My parents would have to yell at me to go to sleep. I would read all night(and i do with a little flash light). This book was one of my all time favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book Murdered,My Sweet was a great book.Though I'm a 10 year old about to turn eleven soon,I really enjoyed this book and I'm not usually into reading books.Now that I've read this book my classmates have been saying 'Save my the book!I want to read it next.'That's why my mom wants to get a few of her seires .I'm going to end this paragragh in a funny way.I started reading her books at my school library
Guest More than 1 year ago
Murdered, My Sweet is another one of my favorite books by Joan Lowery Nixon. She's a great mystery writer and I hope that she will never stop writing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it had suspance and it was great, i just love mystery
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great book!Definitly a suspensful reading experience!