Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Fit to Be Dead by Nancy G. West


FIT TO BE DEAD is nominated for The LEFTY AWARD, best humorous mystery of 2012.

In this first Aggie Mundeen mystery caper, Aggie, pushing forty and obsessed with becoming decrepit, writes the column, “Adventures in Staying Young.” When she moves to San Antonio, Texas, she has to shape up before anybody discovers she’s the author. She takes Aspects of Aging at University of the Holy Trinity and dives into exercise at the health club. Rusty at flirting and mechanically inept, she irritates a slew of male exercisers, then stumbles into murder. She tries to impress the attractive detective with her sleuthing skills. But when the killer comes after her, the health club evacuates evacuate patrons in less-than-dignified attire from the locker rooms, and the detective has to stall his investigation to save Aggie’s derriere.

Anybody who dreads aging, has tried to shape up or loved the wrong man will appreciate Aggie Mundeen.



Some people prefer their mysteries and thrillers with grit, like a summer blockbuster action flick, with buff male (super)heroes and token female characters.  I have no problem with that.  There is nothing wrong with reading what you like.  But it is an equally valid choice to like female main characters - those who don't look trim like movie stars, who are often judged by their youth and fitness as much as, or more than, their acting ability.

That's at the crux of why I like Fit to be Dead.  The heroes and important characters have flaws as well as strengths, quirks and foibles as well as looks and intelligence.   Aggie is a 3D character.  She can almost walk right off the pages of the book (or, in my case, the microchips of my e-reader), and find a home in my mirror.

Fit to be Dead is a light, easy read - at once similar and different from other books I've read of late.  It may not deal with the atrocities of WWII, the evils of domestic abuse, or the suffering of those with breast cancer and their families and friends, but that doesn't mean it is any better or worse than books covering those important topics. When I think of my top ten favorite movies, there are both dramas (Dead Again, Henry V) and comedies (So I Married an Axe Murderer).



When Nancy G. West was seven years old, she and her mother wrote poems to each other on special occasions. In high school, the Library Journal Pegasus published Nancy’s poem. At eighteen, she realized she might have to get a real job.

She heard journalists were underpaid and English majors were selling lingerie, so she studied General Business at the University of Texas and University of Houston and earned a BBA.

            A few years later, married, with two daughters, Nancy realized she had to study English literature and write. She read numerous books on writing and wrote articles, poetry, and the biography of artist Jose Vives-Atsara (Shoal Creek Publishers). She founded Book Publishers of Texas, edited their trade journal and promoted their books for seven years.

While earning her MA in English literature at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, she began writing NINE DAYS TO EVIL, a novel of psychological suspense, Shakespeare, and nonstop-action which won the Blether Gold Award.

Her poem, Time to Lie, was featured by “Theme and Variations” and broadcast on NPR. She wrote book reviews for San Antonio Woman’s Book Shelf column for almost three years as well as articles for other publications.

As West finished NINE DAYS TO EVIL, Meredith Laughlin’s story, Meredith’s “mature” graduate school friend, Aggie Mundeen, took over West’s consciousness. The result was the author’s creation of the Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series.


(Disclosure:  I received an e-copy of "Fit to Be Dead" from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)  Click the logo below to see the rest of the tour!


  1. No explanation needed.Enjoyed the review.

  2. OOh I definitely want to read this! Added it to my TBR. I loveeeee a good character who seems so realistic and then again, I do love a good mystery too!