You Might As Well Die by J.J. Murphy is the second book in the “Algonquin Round Table” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian (Penguin), December 2011

One must be careful never to pick up a stray piece of paper at the Algonquin Round Table—it might be the check. But when second-rate illustrator Ernie MacGuffin slips Dorothy Parker an envelope, she’s none the wiser. Only later does she discover it’s a suicide note.

It seems MacGuffin has leaped to a watery death from the Brooklyn Bridge. Days later, his artistic works have tripled in value, and he’s become so renowned that Harold Ross at the fledgling magazine “The New Yorker” wants Robert Benchley to write a profile on him.

Somethings smells fishy to Dorothy, though, so she enlists magician and skeptic Harry Houdini to accompany her to a seance being held by self-proclaimed clairvoyant Viola Sweet. There the ghostly voice of Ernie MacGuffin seems hauntingly real—almost as if he could reach out and grab them.

An artist’s death increases the value of his previous work but Dorothy believes there’s more to this and enlist of the help of her friend to find the truth of his death. This was a good read. I’m not a fan of historical mysteries, but this certainly entertained me with its witty dialogue; engaging mystery, and a step back in the heyday of old-New York.

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