Recently my friend, Lee Sinai, author, athlete extradonaire, and avid reader suggested I read Dying to Live in Palm Beach written by author and former bookstore owner Jane Grossman. 

With that recommendation and a signed copy in hand, I finished the book in two days. Before you read my review (and I tried to be objective), I asked Jane Grossman to write a few paragraphs about her inspiration for this book.

Here are Jane's comments:

"One of my all-time favorite writers is Mary Wesley, an Englishwoman who wrote wonderful novels, often with surprise endings. Her first work of fiction was published when she was 70 years old. For all the years I thought of writing fiction and was just too busy, I would think of Mary Wesley and know I had years to go. As the years flew by, I built a career in the retail book business and even published nonfiction. Yet there was always Mary Wesley doggedly lingering in the back of my mind.  And so one day, I sat down and started to write...I beat Mary Wesley, but only by one month!

I knew I had good material after spending so much time with my mother in Palm Beach during her waning years...I originally thought of my mother and her friends as stereotypical widows...but as I came to know them, I realized that life was gayer in Palm Beach because they made it so. They ameliorated their lonliness and fear by amusing themselves and each other...each in her own way. "The girls" as they called themselves are composites of my mother's friends; their jokes and conversations I heard when I was with them: the murders, however are imaginary...I hope!

So while Mary Wesley is my role model, the "girls" of  Palm Beach are my muses."



Books about Palm Beach or any resort area for that matter, often
resonate, beach read... but in this case Dying to Live in Palm Beach by Jane Grossman, although somewhat of a beach read is set apart from the others.  It's a genuine "who dun it" and lots of fun and angst at the same time.

Okay, I could have done without the jokes..although they brought back memories of Morey Amsterdam, Shecky Green and that whole Miami comedy scene..and I did laugh out loud a few times, in spite of myself. The cast of characters ("the girls") is well thought out and many of them are reminicent of people I know, or should I say, knew. 

Dying to Live in Palm Beach  tells the story of a close knit group of women living the Palm Beach life style..but worrying about their mortality..and I can relate to that.

Life takes a turn when credit cards are exchanged, funerals amass, and a murderer hovers nearby. Everyone is in danger and the reader is kept in the dark as to who the killer really is. Flossy, the most endearing of the ladies sets out to solve the crime... along with her home health aide..and the mystery intensifies.

Jane Grossman can write, no doubt  about  that, and she knows her characters well. The reader will enjoy the suspense, although for me it was short lived. I guessed the murderer early into the story but not everyone will.

I also felt sadness, people knowing death is lurking nearby, the fear and desperation to live each day to the fullest, and the pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle.

Thankyou Jane for the quotes from a variety of luminaries at the outset of some chapters. An example would be a timely quote from Mark Twain: "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."

Include this book on your next trip or read it when you need a break from your surroundings (especially if you live in Palm Beach!). 

Some readers will be able to relate to the Palm Beach scene but for readers who have no conception, someday plan to visit fabulous Worth Ave...but hold onto your credit card!

Dying to Live in Palm Beach by Jane Grossman is available in two formats on Amazon. Click on the Amazon Search Box in the Sidebar to order.

PLease don't hesitate to leave a comment below. As my mentor, Joan Rivers always says, "Let's Talk!"

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I'll start.. I read this on the plane and time passed quickly..yes, I figured it out..Did anyone else out there? What were the clues?