Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Renewable Virgin: Barbara Paul

The Renewable Virgin is the first book by Barbara Paul that I have read, and it won’t be my last. It was one of my favorite reads of 2017.

Rudy Benedict is a screenwriter who dies after taking poison in a headache remedy; the police are not even sure if the poison was intended for him. Kelly Ingram is his friend (and almost lover) who plays a continuing role as a beautiful, dumb blonde in the TV show (described as "Harry O in the Big Apple") that Rudy sometimes wrote for. Rudy's mother, Fiona Benedict, is a college professor who comes to New York and seeks out Kelly. Marian Larch is a NYPD homicide detective who ends up mediating between them.

This was the perfect book for me. I don't know why I waited so long to read it. The three women affected by Rudy’s death tell the story in alternating chapters. Each chapter title is the woman's name so it is very clear who is talking. They each come from different environments, and have very different personalities. The story was written and set in the early 1980's and thus reflects the experiences of women in the workplace at the time.

The plot is complicated and the background story of the TV show, Kelly's role in it, and the competition between her agent and the show's producer is funny and entertaining. The characters are very well done. The story is light and humorous, but not lightweight at all.

This is the first of seven books in the Marian Larch series, although it was an accidental series, per the author. Thus Marian does not always feature prominently in each book.


 -----------------------------

Publisher:   Bantam Books, 1986 (orig. publ. 1984) 
Length:       185 pages
Format:      Paperback 
Series:       Marian Larch, #1
Setting:      New York City
Genre:       Mystery
Source:      I purchased this book.


15 comments:

  1. This does sound interesting, Tracy. It sounds as though there's some solid character development, among other things. That's always a plus for me. Oh, and that title - certainly distinctive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you would like it, Margot. It is a great title. I will be reading more and reporting on them.

      Delete
  2. Tracy, you do make this one sound appealing, but I can't be chasing after more books TBH. You will have to read some of them on my behalf I'm afraid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it was wonderful, but I can understand you sticking with what you have on hand, Col. I am trying to do better in that area this year. We will see.

      Delete
  3. You've made me want to read this one, Tracy, and if there's a Kindle version, I will! Great title, too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like the book, Mathew. And would love to hear your opinion of it.

      Delete
  4. Intriguing, Tracy. I'd never heard of this book or this author. I will definitely put it on my TBR list for 2018. You just never know what book is going to hit the perfect spot these days. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope this one hits the spot for you, Yvette.

      Delete
  5. One of the thing's I love about your blog is bringing attention to author's I've never heard of and that look interesting to me as well. I see Ms. Paul's books are easily accessible on the Kindle Unlimited subscription service to read for free but they are kind of high to buy if you don't use the subscription service. I've added her first book to my watch list. Thanks Tracy and Happy New Year to you. ---Keishon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Keishon. All of the books I have by Barbara Paul are old paperbacks that have been on the TBR a long time (wish I had not waited so long to read one).

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Doing the Bingo meme this year was fun, Nancy.

      Delete
  7. I read one book by her that I really disliked (a standalone) but you are almost tempting me to try her again with your enthusiasm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did love this book, Moira. I hope I like the other books by her as well. We shall see.

      Delete