Death in a Hot Flash (Bel Barrett Mysteries (Avon Books))

3.26 avg rating
( 62 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780380802814: Death in a Hot Flash (Bel Barrett Mysteries (Avon Books))

Professor Bel Barrett has enough on her plate teaching English at a Jersey City community college. Between hot flashes, she's worrying about her two grown kids and whether her significant other is becoming less significant. Yet somehow Bel lets a colleague, Vinny Vallone--part-time Funeral Services Education teacher, big-time undertaker--flatter her into believing that the future of feminism in the funeral business depends on her acting as a role model by teaching his class how to research and write. But before Bel actually gets into co-teaching the inner-city undertaker wannabes, Vinny the undertaker turns into Vinny the deceased.

There's no doubt it's murder, and suspicion is focused on one of Bel's students, a young reformed ex-gangster. Bel doesn't believe the born-again ex-con murdered Vinny and, as always, she makes it her business to right a wrong. With no shortage of suspects, Bel sets out to catch a killer, despite the strong possibility that her nose for news may land her in a hot spot even she can't fan her way out of.

Professor Bel Barrett has enough on her plate teaching English at a Jersey City community college. Between hot flashes, she's worrying about her two grown kids and whether her significant other is becoming less significant. Yet somehow Bel lets a colleague, Vinny Vallone--part-time Funeral Services Education teacher, big-time undertaker--flatter her into believing that the future of feminism in the funeral business depends on her acting as a role model by teaching his class how to research and write. But before Bel actually gets into co-teaching the inner-city undertaker wannabes, Vinny the undertaker turns into Vinny the deceased.

There's no doubt it's murder, and suspicion is focused on one of Bel's students, a young reformed ex-gangster. Bel doesn't believe the born-again ex-con murdered Vinny and, as always, she makes it her business to right a wrong. With no shortage of suspects, Bel sets out to catch a killer, despite the strong possibility that her nose for news may land her in a hot spot even she can't fan her way out of.Professor Bel Barrett has enough on her plate teaching English at a Jersey City community college. Between hot flashes, she's worrying about her two grown kids and whether her significant other is becoming less significant. Yet somehow Bel lets a colleague, Vinny Vallone--part-time Funeral Services Education teacher, big-time undertaker--flatter her into believing that the future of feminism in the funeral business depends on her acting as a role model by teaching his class how to research and write. But before Bel actually gets into co-teaching the inner-city undertaker wannabes, Vinny the undertaker turns into Vinny the deceased.

There's no doubt it's murder, and suspicion is focused on one of Bel's students, a young reformed ex-gangster. Bel doesn't believe the born-again ex-con murdered Vinny and, as always, she makes it her business to right a wrong. With no shortage of suspects, Bel sets out to catch a killer, despite the strong possibility that her nose for news may land her in a hot spot even she can't fan her way out of.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Jane Isenberg taught English to urban community college students for close to thirty years. She has been writing mysteries ever since she experienced her first hot flash. Her copies of Modern Maturity are delivered to her new home in Amherst, Massachusetts, that she shares with her husband Phil Thompkins.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

January 10, 1996

Dear Ma Bel,

Are you serious about teaching writing to a bunch of undertakers? Just think. my mom, morticians' muse.

Trust me Mom, Israel is nothing like you fantasize. Nobody here is sitting around thinking about terrorists. There hasn't even been a bombing since November. So stop stressing out over everything you read in the papers. You're in more danger in downtown Jersey City than I am at Shemayim. That's the name of my kibbutz, I think it's Hebrew for heaven. It's awesome. The Mediterranean is a two-minute walk from our dorm.

And my work assignment isn't going to be in the concrete slab factory after all. No, your son is going to be picking up trash on the beach and doing some landscaping. (Yes, I'll wear the damn sunblock you stuck in my duffel bag.) So far, being a kibbutznik beats the hell out of temping on Wall Street. My most stressful chore here will be finding someone to rub the sunblock on my back (There are only eight women in our group of forty.)

I hope spring semester goes okay. Don't let those embalmers get under your skin. Sorry, bad joke.

Love,MarkI knew my son would have something to say when I wrote him about my spring schedule. So did children's lit professor Wendy O'Connor, friend and office mate. "What the hell are you doing teaching in the Funeral Service Ed Program? That's pretty kinky even for you, Bel." As she spoke, Wendy was frantically ferreting through files, looking for her bibliography on Beatrix Potter, which she needed to take with her on sabbatical to England. In the flurry of her search, she had scattered folders, papers, and books all over her desk and the floor. I struggled to stifle my inner neatnik's knee-jerk reaction to the evidence that Wendy's whirlwind quest had made a shambles of our tiny office in the River Edge Community College English Department.

"Wanna trade places? I'll fly to the Lake District on sabbatical tomorrow and do research on Beatrix and you can stay here in Jersey City and teach the undertaker wanna-bes. This is my last offer. Take it or leave it," I said, not even looking up from the syllabus I was revising for the upcoming semester. If I raised my head, Wendy might notice the unbecoming shade of green that envy had tinted my complexion. Besides, I didn't want to have to look at the mess she had made.

"No thanks. But I really do want to know how you ended up teaching in the FSE Program. You may be a hormonally challenged postmenopausal flake, Bel, but let me remind you that you once majored in English lit at Vassar. And you wrote a damn good master's thesis on models for matriarchy in Virginia Woolf. So how on earth did you wind up as a matriarch yourself, teaching future undertakers and embalmers? Did the dean ask you to do it? Suddenly, Wendy waved a folder under my nose. "Eureka!" Her elfin face was lit by a triumphant grin.

"No, it wasn't the dean this time." Even I could hear the whine of resignation in my voice. "It was Vinny Vallone. I let that silver-tongued Svengali wheedle me into co-teaching with him."

"Okay. Now that I can almost understand," said Wendy, bending to gather folders from the floor. "I've heard he really is a spinmeister. Exactly how did he convince you? Come on, Bel, this is your last chance to tell Wendy."

She was right. One of the qualities I most appreciate about Wendy is her affinity for gossip. I was especially going to miss our Sunday-moming walks at Liberty State Park where, in the name of fitness, we would spend an hour swapping stories about our colleagues and trashing the ever entertaining RECC administration. "Okay. Okay. Let's see, first he practically purred into my ear about how much fun it would be for us to co-teach. An 'utter hoot' was how he put it." And when that didn't get to me, he tried flattery."

"Oh no. That would never work with you," cracked Wendy. Her deadpan voice belied the smile that had nudged up the comers of her mouth.

"Well, it was a long shot, but he was desperate," I fired back. "Anyway, you know how Vinny loves really bad jokes and puns. So he said that just the other day somebody had told him I was such a gifted teacher that I could inspire even a corpse to write well." I smirked.

Wendy put down the armful of books she had picked up from the floor and held her nose.

Ignoring her gesture, I went on. "I must have looked aghast, because then Vinny really cranked up the wheedle and tried to bribe me."

Wendy was giggling now. "Let me guess. He offered you food, right?"

"Damn, Wendy, you know me too well. But of course you're right. That incorrigible man actually promised he'd whip up gourmet lunches for me during all our planning sessions. At his palazzo in Paulus Hook, no less. Where would he ever get the idea that I can be bought for the price of a good feed?"

"So you sold yourself for a meal and a house tour, Bel? Is that what you're telling me?" Wendy prodded. I was surprised when she added, "Actually, I'd love to see that house. Paulus Hook's such a great old neighborhood too, full of those to-die-for historic homes. I have a friend living there who says Vinny really put a fortune into his renovation."

"He's very pumped about it, that's for sure. But no, I didn't 'sell myself for a meal and a house tour,' " I replied rather primly. "I hate to disappoint you, but I have my professional principles, my scholarly integrity And that's exactly what he appealed to next."

"I give up. Tell me what he said already." Wendy had stood up and was stuffing several books and the bibliography into her knapsack.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Jane Isenberg
ISBN 10: 0380802813 ISBN 13: 9780380802814
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
stressfreebooks
(Bay City, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Brand new copy. Ships fast secure, expedited available!. Bookseller Inventory # 3UBCFO0005AU

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 3.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Jane Isenberg
Published by HarperCollins (2000)
ISBN 10: 0380802813 ISBN 13: 9780380802814
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0380802813

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 20.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Isenberg, Jane
Published by HarperCollins (2000)
ISBN 10: 0380802813 ISBN 13: 9780380802814
New Mass Market Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins, 2000. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110380802813

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Isenberg, Jane
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 10: 0380802813 ISBN 13: 9780380802814
New MASS MARKET PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0380802813 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1928442

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds