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If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him... [Hardcover]

Sharyn McCrumb
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 18 1995
"Whenever Sharyn McCrumb suits up her amateur detective, Elizabeth MacPherson, it's pretty certain that a trip is in the offing and that something deadly funny will happen on the road."
--The New York Times Book Review
Now, the author of She Walks These Hills brings her storytelling gifts to a novel about crimes committed a century apart.
For forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson, solving mysteries hardly seems the fun it used to be--even if she is the official private investigator for her brother Bill's fledgling Virginia law firm. Then Bill and his feminist firebrand partner, A. P. Hill, take on two complex cases that will require Elizabeth's special participation.
Eleanor Royden, a perfect lawyer's wife for twenty years, has shot her ex-husband and his beautiful late-model wife in cold blood. And Donna Jean Morgan finds herself married to a Bible-thumping bigamist who has the nerve to die in circumstances that implicate his wife.
A. P. does her damnedest for Eleanor, an abused wife in denial, and Bill gallantly defends Donna Jean. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's forensic expertise, including her special knowledge of poisons, gives her the most challenging case of her career.
As questions of wife abuse and abandonment emerge in the court of public opinion, Elizabeth becomes a war correspondent in the battle of the sexes--a battle as old as the hills and unlikely to reach a truce any time soon....

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Three grievously wronged women take murderous revenge in this sharp-edged, witty tale, the eighth appearance of forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. Her skills at research and detection come into play when she is hired as an investigator by her brother Bill's Virginia law firm. Bill has been asked to defend a woman accused of poisoning her philandering husband, a piously hypocritical preacher. Another law partner, the resolute Amy Powell Hill, ponders how best to defend a Richmond socialite who gleefully admits to shooting both her ex-husband and his new wife. Intertwined with these contemporary cases is a 19th-century mystery: How did a genteel Southern lady manage to poison her wealthy Yankee husband? Buoyed by intriguing characters, a wry?sometimes macabre?wit, and lush Virginia atmosphere, McCrumb's (MacPherson's Lament; The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter) mystery spins merrily along on its own momentum, concluding that justice will triumph... but in surprising ways. Mystery Guild selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Elizabeth MacPherson, Southern sleuth and forensic anthropologist, investigates a pair of murders for her brother's Virginia law firm. From the author of Missing Susan (Ballantine, 1991).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Gift My Mother In Law Ever Gave Me April 23 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had never heard of Sharyn McCrumb before getting this book from my dear departed mother in law.
When I picked it up while helping my father in law wade through her personal belongings, we were all still in tears from our loss. This book made me roll in the floor laughing my ... off. I found myself not wanting to put it down.
You can read all the other reviews on this book if you want someone to tell you how the story ends. Personally, I'd rather read the book to find that part out. You will have fun.
Sharyn McCrumb has written over 30 other books that I have now located and read. This is one of her best although the ballad novels are wonderful too. The Rosewood Casket is excellent.
This book is helpful to share with women friends who are dealing with divorce and particularly unfaithful spouses. The emotions of pain that are shown here but then charged with laughter are a wonderful way to start the healing.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, don't need a hat.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag Sept. 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book has some wonderful subplots, and some pretty awful ones. The wonderful ones keep me coming back to reread it, but now I skip the awful ones.
The stories of Eleanor Royden and Donna Jean Morgan, one who killed the husband who divorced her for a younger woman, the other who is accused of killing the husband who brought a second, teenage, wife into their house without divorcing her, are riveting. Both these subplots are laugh-out-loud funny at times, but ultimately very sad.
You might, however, want to skip the parts of the book about Elizabeth MacPherson's mother. This is the only part of the book where McCrumb veers into charicature; usually what makes her such a wonderful author is that she invests a wide range of characters with real life, allowing them to be funny while being sensitive to how such people actually might think about the world. Here, however, that couldn't be farther from the case. I don't want to give away the ending, even though it's probably too much respect to pay that part of the book, but let's just say that it ends up presenting a completely false vision of how the world works for women in traditionally male occupations.
The book is worth a read, it's just sad that what could have been such a great book is so degraded by one relatively small subplot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Challenge of Rearing Husbands May 28 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently heard of a quote attributed to Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist, Billy Graham, when asked if she had ever considered divorce in the many years of their marriage; her tongue-in-cheek answer came to mind on my completion of this book: "Murder - yes; divorce - never!"
Sharon McCrumb might have had this thought in mind while writing "If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him". If nothing else, this book has a five-star title; it is intriguing enough to practically carry the book on its own sly humor. Fortunately, the title's encouragement isn't wholly wasted on the story.
McCrumb again uses a technique which she has employed in other works - "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" and "She Walks These Hills", for example - weaving a historical event into the fibers of a modern mystery. Here, the poisoning death of Major Philip Todhunter, allegedly at the hands of his wife, Lucy, seems to have been re-enacted by her great-granddaughter, who has a religiously-militant husband. Trying to solve both apparent murders falls to forensic anthropologist, Elizabeth MacPherson, whose brother, Bill, a gawky small-town lawyer, has been hired to defend the accused wife. In addition to that case, Elizabeth is called to assist Bill's law partner, A.P. Hill, with the case of Eleanor Royden, a socialite who dispatched her ex-husband lawyer and his sweet-young-thing new wife into the afterlife after having been the subject of her ex-husband's bloodlust for the sport of divorce. Elizabeth juggles the investigation of these cases while wrestling with upheaval in her own life: her mother's new-found zest for life and her determination to avoid dealing with the apparent death at sea of her beloved mate, Cameron.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If I Killed Him shoots with a rapier-like wit March 5 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
McCrumb's wittiest most thought provoking Elizabeth McPherson novel involves Elizabeth's lawyer brother Bill and his feminist partner, the tough talking feminist A.P. Hill. The two struggling attornies get a case. "Mrs Rierdon killed Mr. Rierdon," AP explains.
"Great! Well not for Mr. Reardon," Bill concedes. A post Civil War murder mystery ties in with a mysterious 1980s death. Witty commentary on how some men dump their wives for younger, trophy ones and also the confused signals women and men send each other. Bill observes to AP that he thought she liked "clever, ruthless people" AP has to ponder that. Would she really want to be married to one? McPherson's sharp dialog- the two attorneys have discussed the Bobbit case ad nauseum and refer to it as the third battle of Mansassas! (the first two being the Civil War battles). "Killed" would be a superb film because of the witty dialog and strong, intelligent women. How many HOllywood movies boringly cast women as prostitutes or pretty but dumb. AP Hill is a tough talking but compassionate attorney and Bill proves that the "good ole Boy" has a penetrating intelligence and insight into human nature and the paradoxes of others. You may not agree with McCrumb's pessimism about marriage- I didn't- but she is thought provoking, the mystery superbly plotted and skillfully written. The first accused murderess is acquitted. "We can't figure out how she did it," the jury wrote to the judge! McCrumb continues to write so skillfully, her characters are varied and complex. Also, she does not repeat herself. She continues to delve into character, and motivation and her wit is sharp and delightful. One of the best plotted mysteries and most skillfully written ones of the 1990s. It deserved its place on the Bestseller list, unlike some of the schlock that sometimes makes the list.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Bookclub Bomb
The person who picked this selection for our bookclub nearly got 'egged' when she walked in the door. We all agreed it was a shallow, dull book. Never again for this author!
Published on May 17 2004 by snowblaze
2.0 out of 5 stars Dolphins are not McCrumb's strong suit!!!
To be perfectly honest I just couldn't get past the thing with the dolphin. I thought it was sick, twisted, and unworthy of a writer of Sharyn McCrumb's caliber. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003 by "lacurto"
2.0 out of 5 stars ridiculous
I bought the book because I absolutely loved "The Song Catcher" and the title intrigued me. However, this book is not up to McCrumb standard. Read more
Published on May 10 2003 by Ed Reads
5.0 out of 5 stars Has it all: humor, mystery, science, history, and feminism
Sharyn McCrumb has succeeded brilliantly in writing a novel that is a decent murder mystery and yet also so much more. Read more
Published on July 8 2001 by Douglas A. Greenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious!
Sharyn McCrumb never ceases to entertain, and to allow her Elizabeth MacPherson books to possess a lighter side her Appalachian series does not. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2000 by Gemini Rising
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this one - you will never forget it.
Lighter than the author's more serious books, nevertheless this story has an edge to it.
Entertaining with surprises as well as social consciousness. Read more
Published on May 26 2000 by Helen
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll never think of dolphins the same way
I enjoyed this book, though it's much darker than the rest of the light-hearted series. I'm sorry Ms. Read more
Published on April 7 2000 by Kiwi Carlisle
5.0 out of 5 stars Three snaps up in a "Z" formation!
One of the funniest books I've ever read, especially funny for women. Read it, its hilarious!!
Published on Oct. 19 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book!
This is a great book filled with great characters and filled with humor. You'll laugh till you cry. I love this book!
Published on Oct. 11 1999
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