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How to Murder a Millionaire

(Blackbird Sisters Mystery #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,447 ratings  ·  321 reviews
Nora Blackbird, society columnist and down-and-almost-out former debutante, reclaims her place within Philadelphia's elite when she stumbles upon the murdered body of a millionaire art collector.

"MY parents blew the country for a sunny resort that catered to American tax evaders, leaving the family art collection to my sister Emma, the furniture to my sister Libby. They ga
Paperback, 266 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Berkley Books
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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,447 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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Jacob Proffitt
Nov 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
There's the beginnings of something good, here. The writing is a bit awkward and the setting is a little vague (which is a shame as I suspect that Philadelphia could be quite charming), but the main character is sweet and an interesting mixture of brave and vulnerable. I had a tough time engaging with the book for a while. Nora and her interactions with Michael kept me going, though, and I'm glad I stuck it out.

And the mystery worked, so there's that.

I'm a little fascinated with Nora, truth to t
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This started out a little slow for me, but the characters and writing were o.k. and the setting was one with which I'm familiar. I kept reading, and I'm glad I did.

Nora Blackbird is one of three sisters left behind when their formerly-millionaire, tax-evading parents flee the country after flittering away their fortune. Nora is left with the family home and property, the house now falling apart and a $2 million tax bill on the property. With no money left in the coffers (and none of the furnitur
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
The cover of this book was misleading... in a good way. The title and cover image give the impression that this is going to be another cozy mystery following in the vein of Janet Evanovich or some other ditzy, fashion-obsessed heroine. On the contrary, I found that the characters were more well-rounded and the story grew steadily with more complex details. The author is good with a phrase as well!

It takes place among the Philadelphia upper-crust and features a smart, thoughtful heroine. Her occa
Connie N.
I liked this a lot better than I thought I would. It started out a bit slow, I thought, and I wasn't all that excited about Nora Blackbird, the main character. But her personality developed very well throughout the book, right along with the search for the murderer. I was kept guessing until close to the end (I feel as though I say that a lot!). I've read several cozies lately, by authors new to me, but this is my favorite so far. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Latisha Bramlett
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
3.5 stars. I liked this book. It was good and the characters were likable. Although, I wanted to slap Lizzie and Emma. But, I sometimes want to slap my own sisters so I guess it is a believable sisterly relationship. Lol... I just wish there was a bit more action. It seemed a bit light to me. I am interested enough to read the others eventually.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
My mom accidentally ordered one of the books from later in the series from her book club. She liked it enough to continue with the series and as she always does, sent the books to me when she finished. I like to start series from the beginning so I ordered this one from Paperback Swap.

Nora Blackbird and her sisters, Emma and Libby, all three of whom are in their 30's and widowed (though one is remarried), grew up among Philadelphia's elite. And then their parents decided to squander the family f
Catherine Leggitt
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the rarified upper crust air of Philadelphia. Nancy Martin has crafted a delightful mystery--actually the first in the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. In this debut episode, Nora Blackbird, society columnist and down-and-almost-out former debutante, stumbles upon the murdered body of a millionaire art collector. Rory Pendergast was her friend and when the police zero in on another friend--Rory's long-time companion Peach Treese--it falls to Nora to set matters ...more
Oct 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chicklit, mysteries
I had very high hopes for this book. Love the title, love the premise (3 riches-to-rags sisters start solving mysteries). But in many ways, it really failed to live up.

The mystery was okay...but the solution didn't turn out to be half as clever as it could have been. And some of the red herring storylines were weird, and not particularly palatable, to be honest (senior citizens all wrapped up in torrid affairs and erotic art).

I didn't find a lot of humor here, either, which was also disappointi
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Nora Blackbird comes from old, Philadelphia money. The problem is that her parents have blown through the family fortune and then promptly skipped the country to escape tax evasion charges. That leaves Nora, her older sister, Libby, and her younger sister, Emma, to put on brave faces back home. Faced with having to pay the back taxes on the 100 acre family homestead, Nora gets a job writing for the society pages at the local newspaper only to run head first into murder on her very first assignme ...more
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a witty and enjoyable series set in modern day Philadelphia. Our plucky heroine is Nora Blackbird who solves murders among the upper class that she inhabits as a birthright. Unfortunately her parents have spilt the country, leaving her in debt and causing her to take a job as a society columnist. The set up manages to walk the fine line of giving us a peek into a lifestyle most of us can only dream about, and yet giving her money concerns that resonate with the reader. The secondary char ...more
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nora Blackbird is a down on luck socialite, who just inherited 2 million dollar tax bill on her family's farmhouse. For the first time in her life Nora has to get a job, but she never expected it would be this exciting. Rory Pendergast a dear family friend, offers Nora a job writing for his newspaper The Intelligencer. It is at the party for the paper that Nora discovers Rory sprawled out on the floor of his bedroom dead; What's a girl to do?

This is was a very good start the series, I accidently
Vickie Fisher
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How to Murder a Millionaire (Blackbird Sisters Mystery #1) is an enjoyable read from start to finish. If you enjoy murder with a splash of humor, then this is the series for you. The Blackbird sisters are each unique and keep you wondering what will they do next. The other characters are people you would like to have around even if it was just to prove that your family and friends aren’t that bad after all. I loved the plot twist, and was totally taken by surprise by who the murderer turned out ...more
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Krazykiwi by: Murder by Death
A lovely start to a mystery series, and exactly the kind of light reading I needed at the exact moment I picked it up. So it might have gained a half star for being perfectly fitted for the moment.

I loved most of the characters, particularly Nora the protagonist, and her slightly but not overdone snarky outlook on life. I liked that there's no romance triangle in sight, and I liked that I totally didn't see the murderer coming (but props to me, I did suspect an eventual accomplice.)

Sadly my libr
Aug 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Not so bad at all. Nora is a bit like Stephanie Plum, the posh Philadelphia version. And there's a yummy Italian beau, too, of whom I expect to learn more. All in all, it kept me interested and I plan to read on.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found out about this series (!!) while doing another review where someone mentioned it. Lots of quirky characters and just a hint of romance to these. Those of you who don't like a lot of sex mixed in with your mysteries would enjoy them especially. Lots of fun.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge
This is the first book in the Blackbird sisters series and it was a lot of fun. I didn't see the ending coming and I always like when that happens. The characters were fun to get to know but I think there is still a lot of growing to do and I look forward to seeing it in the coming books.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I place this firmly in my "Brain Candy" file. A fun read, likable characters, and following the cookie cutter style of the cozy. It's not great literature, but we don't always WANT great literature, do we?
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Martin wrote a witty, interesting mystery. Upper class characters who have lost their money and sometimes their minds - fun read.
Liz Tesoro
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it ... Kinda stupid
Mel W
This was a fun read. I like a bit more romance with my mysteries but what there was picqued my interest enough to search out the rest of the books in this series.

3.5 stars
Kelly Well Read
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
Written by the prolific Nancy Martin, the Blackbird Sisters Mystery series is set in Philadelphia and has a great cast of unique characters. The main character, Nora Blackbird, comes from an old, wealthy family and lives in the rather dilapidated family home. Her parents, apparently not good money managers, have left the country, leaving her the property, land and a two million dollar tax bill. Finding herself needing to work to make ends meet, Nora raids her grandmother’s vintage clothing cache ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it
A promising start to a series! The characters were interesting without being clichés, and they all worked well together like real people, not like characters chosen to make a book interesting. The main character has two sisters who are very different from her and each other, and they seem to get along like real sisters do.

Great descriptions, and interesting premise--Nora is a socialite who needs money, so she gets a job reporting about parties and people she grew up with. She's an insider in the
Evie Upadhyay
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Though the starting of the book was pretty good and could have developed into something better it fell flat. The characters when first introduced are intriguing and have a lot of potentials. But instead they kind of fall flat and turn more annoying, unbelievable and unrealistic.

After I finished the first book I was expecting the characters to have developed and matured instead on the first 10 pages of the second book, I found the characters more annoying than the previous book. So I gave up, I
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Nora blackbird and her sisters are all widowed, and all picking up the pieces of their lives after their parents blew the family fortune and waltzed away to the tropics.
Lacking any better prospects, Nora starts to write for society column and comes across the dead body of a dearfamily friend at a party she is covering.
The setup was good, the mystery not obvious and yet plausible, but the life of Nora with her two sisters is what really set this apart for me. This is a fun series. I'll be back fo
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This seemed to be the complete cozy mystery. It had everything: a murder, a mystery, a little romance, a little family drama, lots of humor, and a nice surprise for me, a Newfoundland dog! And nicely written, too. You don't get lost wondering what happened or who people are...everything is clearly presented. Couldn't wait to get to the end to see how it all tied together and ended. Very satisfying read.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one book that I actually bought because of the cover. And bought several in the series before even reading one, not new but used, in like new condition. Well, I finally decided to check out number one and I have to say, I was not disappointed. So sometime soon, number two is in my rainy day book reads.
Simone Seitz
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet and exciting!

The book wasn’t wordy but it was charming and had an exciting plot twist. Nora is a great character and you can tell she has a knack of getting he self in trouble.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this early aughts mystery. It was a fun ride through Philadelphia society. Nora and her sisters are so fun and the machinations of the plot were wonderful. It really kept me guessing. I’ll probably read the next in the series.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Set in Philadelphia, Nora is a new reporter having had to go to work after a life of privilege. Her wealthy parents skipped town leaving her the family home and in debt. She helps investigate the death of a family friend and in the process makes some interesting friends.
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Winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement award for mystery writing from Romantic Times magazine, Nancy Martin announces the release of the 8th book in her popular Blackbird Sisters mystery series, NO WAY TO KILL A LADY. Set in Philadelphia, the story features three heiresses whose parents have run off with their trust funds. Now thay have a chance to regain their wealth when their aunt, "Madcap Mad ...more

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Blackbird Sisters Mystery (10 books)
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  • Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #4)
  • Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #5)
  • A Crazy Little Thing Called Death (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #6)
  • Murder Melts in Your Mouth (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #7)
  • No Way to Kill a Lady (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #8)
  • Little Black Book of Murder (Blackbird Sisters Mystery, #9)
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