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The Dead Don't Get Out Much [Paperback]

Mary Jane Maffini
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 1 2005 A Camilla MacPhee Mystery (Book 5)

Remembrance Day is a proud day for Camilla MacPhee's good friend, Mrs. Violet Parnell, one of five thousand Canadian women to go overseas during World War II. But the next day she has vanished. Camilla, with only a few letters and documents to guide her, follows her friend to Tuscany, chasing though historic towns, across high promontories and along steep mountain roads. Vanishing old partisans and Allied aircraft crash sites keep Camilla hopping as she tries to find Mrs. P. before someone with a deadly serious reason to keep the past hidden finds her first. The fifth Camilla MacPhee takes the irascible Ottawa lawyer's adventures to an exotic new locale, with the usual murderous results.


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Review

"The award-winning Ottawa author's latest is mystery at its best...Maffini's tale will surely avoid the literary grave many crime novels fall into." -- Ottawa Citizen

"The dead may not get out much, but they certainly do get around in this sassy little novel by Maffini...It all works beautifully." -- Globe & Mail - Margaret Cannon

From the Publisher

The fifth Camilla MacPhee mystery in Mary Jane Maffini's popular series.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A mis-step by an excellent author Feb. 22 2006
Format:Paperback
I have enjoyed all of the previous work done by Mary Jane Maffini. Her Camilla MacPhee series and the newer Fiona Silk are some of the best works by Canadian authors in the last few years. This effort, "The Dead Don't Get Out Much", does not rate as such.
The premise of the book is that one the central characters, Mrs. Parnell, collapses during a Remembrance Day reception. Taken to the hospital, Camilla and Alvin assume she has had a heart attack, even though the doctor never says so. Shortly after, Mrs Parnell, takes off for Italy, not informing Camilla or Alvin of this. In fact she leaves instructions that they should nto follow her. So what does Camilla do? Of course, she follows her, afraid that she will suffer a heart attack. why she does not contact Italian authorities is a mystery in the mystery.
In Italy, Mrs. Parnell retraces some events that occured in the War. To me, it seemed clear that she did not need Camilla. I found that many of the twists and turns in the plot were predictable pages and pages, even chapters before thay happened.
Camilla wonders about saying nice things to her lover, Ray Deveau, but never says them. Strange. Camilla's bull-headedness is an interesting charatcer trait, but I found it to be very tiresome in this story. I found the book itself to be far to long and the ending painfully obvious.
If you are new to Mary Jane Maffini, don't start with this. Her earlier work - Speak Ill of the Dead, Icing on the Corpse - are far better.
I am looking forward to the next effort by Maffini, a Fiona Silk story I hear. I consider this to be a mis-step that many authors have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buona Sera, Camilla Jan. 15 2006
By Lou Allin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this fifth, fabulously titled entry in the best-selling and
internationally translated Camilla MacPhee series set in Ottawa, Remembrance
Day celebrations get off to a dramatic start. While Camilla and her
eccentric sidekick Alvin watch the parade, their dear friend Violet Parnell,
a World War Two vet in her eighties, collapses from shock after the march
and is taken to the hospital. "I'm terribly troubled by a dead man," she
says. Has she mistaken someone in the crowd or is the sharp and crusty lady
who loves her Bristol Cream and Benson & Hedges the victim of growing
dementia? The situation escalates when Violet slips away against doctor's
orders, packs hurriedly, and leaves the country. Alvin and Camilla discover
the woman's apartment ransacked, and through an assembly of clues, some of
which come from wartime letters, discover that Italy is her destination.
Desperate about her friend's precarious health, Camilla ignites her charge
card and takes wing, rents a toy car, and is soon careering through the
hills of Tuscany. Always one-step ahead in her luxury sedan, Mrs. Parnell
follows a trail deeper into the hills and deeper still into the past. What
they discover leads to a secret of shame and betrayal which opens old wounds
and points to murder.
Maffini, often called Canada's answer to Janet Evanovich, writes this book
with the more serious implications of history, but her usual droll comic
perceptions and singular voice underlie every scene.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buona Sera, Camilla Feb. 1 2006
By Lou Allin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this fifth entry in the best-selling and internationally translated Camilla MacPhee series set in Ottawa, Remembrance Day celebrations get off to a dramatic start. While Camilla and her eccentric sidekick Alvin watch the parade, their dear friend Violet Parnell, a World War Two vet in her eighties, collapses from shock after the march and is taken to the hospital. "I'm terribly troubled by a dead man," she says. Has she mistaken someone in the crowd or is the sharp and crusty lady who loves her Bristol Cream and Benson & Hedges the victim of early dementia? The situation escalates when Violet slips away against doctor's orders, packs hurriedly, and leaves the country. Alvin and Camilla discover the woman's apartment ransacked, and through an assembly of clues, some of which come from wartime letters, discover that Italy is her destination. Desperate about her friend's precarious health, Camilla ignites her charge card and takes wing, rents a toy car, and is soon careering through the hills of Tuscany. Always one-step ahead in her luxury sedan, Mrs. Parnell follows a trail deeper into the hills and deeper still into the past. What they discover lead to a secret of shame and betrayal which opens old wounds and points to murder.

Maffini, often called Canada's answer to Janet Evanovich, writes this book with the more serious implications of history, but her usual droll comic perceptions and singular voice underlie every scene. Camilla's experiences with the Italian personality never fail to amuse, as do her fumblingly realistic efforts with the language as she searches for her "nonna," a buzzword guaranteed to elicit sympathy from a family-oriented society. Her descriptions of the countryside, the charming inns, taverns, and squares, are a trip in themselves from a bewildered Canadian's perspective. "Outside of the cities, it is very green, and much of it is situated on forty-five degree slopes. Imagine vineyards marching up and down. The roads are dotted with snazzy cars doing two hundred kilometres an hour. I should also mention that there are a zillion silver Opels going almost as fast. My Ka...just chugged along a little faster than a rollerblade." The poignant letters, drawn from actual family correspondence, anchor the background and provide a charming portrait of a romantic but tragic era. Maffini doles out clues on a regular basis and keeps the pages turning with a surprise around every hairpin corner. Witty, resolute, and inventive, Camilla is the ideal travel companion. Dig into a chocolate gelati, and enjoy this entertaining ride.
5.0 out of 5 stars Grappa for Everyone!!! Nov. 20 2012
By Ellen Rappaport - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"The Dead Don't Get Out Much" was a non-stop adventure and in Italy no less.

The story begins with Mrs. Parnell participating in Canada's Remembrance Day parade. A proud day for this CWAC.
Mrs. P's memories of WWII are reawakened in a bewildering instant when she believes to have seen a dead comrade.

Mrs. P goes into a dead faint and is hospitalized until...she goes missing. Camilla questions Dr. Hasheem about her disappearance. Unfortunately, the Doctor has no answers and no one on duty at the hospital witnessed Mrs. P's flight from needed observation.

Camilla with Alvin's assistance starts to piece together the moments leading up to Mrs. Parnell's disappearance. They begin by reading through old letters in a box kept by Mrs. Parnell. Letters from friends telling a story of her past during the war. A past neither Camilla nor Alvin had ever been told about. The question remains why she left in such a hurry and where was she going.

Violets' computer has another shock Camilla and Alvin find although most of Violets' files had been erased. A ticket to Italy had been purchased and Mrs. Parnell is on her way to Italy. Camilla is packed and ready to go and follow her friend ...and this is where the adventure begins.

And what an adventure it was! All over the beautiful and historic towns in Italy, trying to speak to the citizens although limited in Italian and finding a dead end at each turn in her search.

I could not put this book down. It was much more than another page turner for me. The details in Camilla's search and the reality of the Italian landscape brought this thrilling mystery to life.

Loved it and absolutely recommend it to all cozy lovers. Fabulous read!
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