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How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1920


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA; Bantam Pbk. Ed edition (1 Jan. 1920)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553573608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553573602
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,815,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

Investigating the mysterious death of the local librarian, Ellie Haskell is entranced by the arrival of romance cover model Karisma, whose muscle-bound fund-raiser is upended by second and third murders.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Aug. 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book almost made me late for Mass, something which Ellie Haskell would probably have understood. How could I have possibly torn myself away with a mere 25 pages remaining although time was running out? I didn't and I am unrepentant. Karisma, the male cover model of the title, is a hilarious spoof of Fabio. (Neither is the man of MY dreams, but I am repulsed by any man who looks as if he could snap my bones like twigs.) I loved the snatches of imaginary romance novels. They reminded me of the Barbara Cartlands and Harlequins I read when I was a teen, but these were much funnier. I think the late Georgette Heyer would have enjoyed them, too -- she was so good at skewering the excesses of the genre. The rest of the book is the sort of fun I've come to expect from this series. There are so many twists and odd coincidences that I don't feel bad for coming to the same spectacularly wrong conclusion that Ellie did. Can't leave this review without expressing my appreciation for the author's double nod to Joan Hess when she announced that Zinnia Parrish would be writing a sequel to a book by the late Azalea Twilight [see Hess's *Strangled Prose*]. Oh, and I mustn't forget to rave about the cover! It's a pity that Amazon.com shows you only the front cover because the back cover is even better! It's delightful! It's inspired! I had to laugh! Thank you! Ann E. Nichols
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on 14 Nov. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Still reeling from the sheer awfullness of 'How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law', I thought I must give Dorothy Cannell one more chance. So many people seem to like her books, I thought, there must be something about them, I'll try once more.

Well, if anything 'How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams' is even worse than the earlier book, if such a thing is possible.

An incredibly silly plot involves a cover-model for romance novels visiting the village where the heroine, Ellie Haskell, lives. There is an array of grotesque and absurd characters. There is the elderly lady who was jilted by her bridegroom sixty years previously and never goes out by daylight(you could just about swallow it in Dickens, but in a 20th century whodunnit? come on). Since the book was published in 1994, that presumes she was to be married in 1934. So why, then, is she described as wearing 'a pre-WWI bonnet'? Unless, of course Dorothy Cannell doesn't know the difference between WWI and WW2, which wouldn't greatly surprise me.

Then there is Greta, the German home help hired by Ellie haskell because she has been thrown out by her husband, who has fallen in love with another man (evidently, in Cannell country, women have no property rights).

Probably silliest of all is the lady who fled in horror on her wedding night thirty years before when the facts of life were revealed to her by her bridegroom. "It was a different era then" as Ellie Haskell solemly observes. Yes indeed it was, the sixties, and from what I remember of them, ignorance about the facts of life was not a chracteristic of the decade.

Three sudden deaths occur int he village before it dawns on the bird-brained Haskell woman that they might be suspicious.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Mar. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
<<AVOID THIS THING LIKE AMOEBIC DYSENTERY>>
I finished this "novel" feeling as though I had slogged through fifteen miles of day-glo swamp. It smacks of a sequel written under contract by an author who needed to make payments on a car. The "delightfully quirky" characters and the "kooky" goings-on were so unimaginative, relentless, repetitive and uninspired that I only finished the wretched thing so that I could review it in good faith and forget about it.
Devoid of wit, style and substance, it succeeds neither as a puffy comedy or an arch "woman's" novel. (And in its moronic way an insult to the romance community) Obviously intended for people with IQs lower than their shoe sizes.
And to raise the question that irked me for 200 of it's pages: why is this ATROCITY classified as crime fiction or a MYSTERY? The only crime that occurs takes place in the last 50 pages of mess. Instead we are treated to a relentlessly neurotic romance-fanatic (with an irrationally devoted husband) who remains at the same pitch for the duration. If a man had written this, he would be decried as misogynistic. Not only does it fail as a mystery, it is about as suspenseful as a pedicure. Tedious isn't the word: think gum-surgery. About as funny as a metastatic mammogram.
Ms. Cannell's prose reads like something dreamed up by a marketing department: a horrifying hybrid of hack romance novelist and armchair sleuth intended to encourage cross-over readers between the genres... Leaving us with this dismal, stitched together, seeping-seams-and-bolts-exposed mess of a fictive Frankenstein with which to prop up a dresser. A "book" not to be read lightly but to be hurled with great force into the furthest furnace. Abysmal.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Didn't want to put it down! 27 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book almost made me late for Mass, something which Ellie Haskell would probably have understood. How could I have possibly torn myself away with a mere 25 pages remaining although time was running out? I didn't and I am unrepentant. Karisma, the male cover model of the title, is a hilarious spoof of Fabio. (Neither is the man of MY dreams, but I am repulsed by any man who looks as if he could snap my bones like twigs.) I loved the snatches of imaginary romance novels. They reminded me of the Barbara Cartlands and Harlequins I read when I was a teen, but these were much funnier. I think the late Georgette Heyer would have enjoyed them, too -- she was so good at skewering the excesses of the genre. The rest of the book is the sort of fun I've come to expect from this series. There are so many twists and odd coincidences that I don't feel bad for coming to the same spectacularly wrong conclusion that Ellie did. Can't leave this review without expressing my appreciation for the author's double nod to Joan Hess when she announced that Zinnia Parrish would be writing a sequel to a book by the late Azalea Twilight [see Hess's *Strangled Prose*]. Oh, and I mustn't forget to rave about the cover! It's a pity that Amazon.com shows you only the front cover because the back cover is even better! It's delightful! It's inspired! I had to laugh! Thank you! Ann E. Nichols
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
disappointing beginning, tiresome middle and unsatisfying end 22 Jan. 2006
By M. Parkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was charmed by the title and was ready to be satisfied, when I bought this book and took it on vacation. Since I regularly read all sorts of stuff, good, bad, pulp, and critically acclaimed, I didn't worry about it being too fluffy; I just wanted an entertaining story. I ended up in that state one gets into, where one keeps reading and reading, hoping it would improve, hoping the characters would gain more dimension or behave believably or that something would tie in all the seemingly loose ends and improbabilities, until I reached the denouement, whereupon the ridiculously unbelievable ending dissapointed me further and I just wished I could have back all the time I'd wasted reading it.

specific gripes:

Unrealistically bland reactions by characters witnessing surprise deaths of close acquaintances and near neighbors.

Unrealistic characterization of the German nanny, including offensivively trite rendering of her supposed english speaking mistakes.

Aggravating constant lack of logical behavior and self-confidence by a healthy happily married woman with a handsome adoring husband, two healthy happy kids and lots of friends.

A few good parts: I liked the satirical representation of the vain, handsome hunk who "lurves women", and I liked the way the sultry cousin turned out to not be all bad.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Uneven cozy mystery 1 Mar. 2001
By norska - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a cozy-style mystery: written about the happenings in a small village, with a lot of emphasis on the characters. It has a good deal of dry humor - sometimes so dry you almost miss it. I managed to slog thru the whole book, hoping it would get better, but it really didn't. The pacing of the story was very slow, and there was no real sense of suspense or building towards a climax. The high point was barely a bump in the road. There were just too many subplots and points that distracted my attention, most of which didn't have enough of a payoff in the end when the threads tried to come together (and many of them didn't link at all) I suppose some of the plotlines were intended to be red herrings, but it is overkill when you're completely distracted and bored by long tangents that have no satisfactory resolution.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
one of the better Ellie Haskell novels 2 Jan. 2002
By audrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read four books by this author, three of them about Ellie Haskell, resident of Chitterton Fells and member of the Library League. In some ways I thought this was the best of them all -- Mrs. Malloy is hysterical here and the premise revolving around romance fiction is funny as well. But there are also minor problems. The mystery itself is confusing -- lots of people die, but not necessarily of unnatural causes, and the tension never really builds; the depiction of the village's two librarians is lazy and stereotypical; and two of Cannell's best characters, Freddy and Jonas, are not here -- they are away on a camping trip!
Despite the problems this is a fun book. I would recommend it if you are a fan of the author, but not if you are mainly interested in reading a challenging mystery.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Another dud 14 Nov. 2007
By L O'connor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Still reeling from the sheer bloody awfulness of 'How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law' I thought that I should give Dorothy Cannell another chance, and so I read 'How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams'.

if anything, it is even worse than the earlier book, if such a thing wer possible. A model who poses for the covers of romance novels is visiting the villag ein which the heroine, Ellie Haskell, lives. He causes a lot of excitement among the lady residents of the village. There are several deaths, but naturally it doesn't occur to the bird-brained Haskell woman that there is anythign suspicious about them until the third on.

There are a lot of wildly improbably characters in the book. There's the batty old lady who was jilted by her bridegroom sixty years ealier, and has never gone out by daylight since (you could just about swallow it in Dickens, but in a modern murder mystery? Come on). She is described as wearing 'a pre-WWI bonnet' Since she must have got married in 1934 (this book was published in 1994) you wonder why she is wearing a pre-WWI bonnet? Unless of course Dorothy Cannell doesn't know the difference between WWI and WW2, which would not greatly surprise me.

Then there's Greta, the German home help who has been thrown out by her husband because he's fallen in love with another man (evidently in Cannell-land, married women have no property rights, nor divorce lawyers come to that).

Probably silliest of all is the lady who fled on her wedding night thirty years before in shock when her husband revealed the facts of life to her. "It was a different era then" Ellie Haskell says solemnly. Yes indeed it was, the sixties, but from what I can recall of the era, ignorance of the facts of life was not an outstanding feature of the decade.

The idiot Haskell woman spends most of the book drooling over her husband, and only notices that people are being murdered after the third death. The detecting is perfunctory in the extreme and crammed into the last twenty or so pages of the book.

I have read a lot of murder mysteries that I didn't aprticularly care for for one reason or another, but I accept that other people like them. Live and let live. Dorothy Cannell's 'mysteries' are, however, so abysmally bad that I really cannot fathom how any mystery fan could possibly like them.
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