Larger Than death
Lynne Murray's murder mystery featuring a woman of size who doesn't apologize
Review by Ruby Blickenstorfer
I really liked Lynne Murray's murder mystery LARGER THAN DEATH because its heroine, Josephine Fuller, is a real, sexy, intelligent woman who just happens to be fat. The book is fun to read because Josie is positive and funny and never allows anyone to intimidate her. The author is clearly in favor of self-acceptance but there is a minimum of preaching. When I interviewed Lynne, she said it was important that the book start the way it did:
"My name is Josephine Fuller and I've never weighed less than 200 pounds in my adult life not counting the chip on my shoulder..."
The book revolves around size issues-the murder victim is a fat woman who was Josie's best friend and early role model, and the police suspect a serial killer they call "Captain Ahab" who targets large women. Lynne said her first two mysteries (Termination Interview and Death Flower) were about a "Wonder Woman" type heroine who practiced Aikido so she could defend herself from the bad guys. But there is so much fat-bashing in fiction and mystery fiction as well that Lynne found herself throwing books against the wall when she came across lame jokes and prejudiced treatment of fat characters. Then she looked around at the murder mystery scene and realized there were no women of size as heroines although she says a few more large heroines have surfaced in the years since she noticed that. "Once I knew I was going to write about a woman of size who doesn't apologize, I had to become one," Lynne said
It was a journey that she had to postpone when her husband became terminally ill. She found that as a fat woman she had unexpected problems dealing with doctors who had treated her thinner husband with respect as long as he was able to communicate. The doctors expected "the fat wife" to quietly follow their instructions once her husband was not able to express his wishes. When she refused to compromise and demanded that her husband's instructions be followed they were stunned and only agreed after weeks of harassment and arguing. During the grieving process after her husband's death she realized that the experience was an object lesson in getting what you need in a difficult situation where the powers that be are not on your side. As Lynne picked up her manuscript again she began to find what the heroine needed to do and say to stand up for herself and make her way in a sometimes hostile world.
The most delightful discovery for Lynne as a writer is that once she broke through the mental barrier to look at the taboo subject of the stories of fat people's lives she discovered as she puts it, "There is this vein of stories running under the surface of the culture that no one is telling. As a storyteller that's a tremendous discovery for me. Other writers may be afraid to tell these stories, so I will!"
The Josephine Fuller books are a series of murder mysteries. LARGER THAN DEATH, which came out in September of 1997, is the first. The second book LARGE TARGET (about a kidnapped admiral and his highly dysfunctional family in San Diego) is scheduled to come out next fall, also from Orloff Press. Although there is a romantic interest in the first two books, the third book ROMANTIC AT LARGE specifically considers the problems of an FA. Lynne is still gathering material on that subject so feel free to contact her on the Internet at MurrayMade@aol.com or through her publisher. Orloff Press, P.O. Box 80774, Athens, Georgia 30608.
|LARGER THAN DEATH is a hardback book priced at $23.00, available at bookstores and can be ordered by stores or individuals by calling Orloff Press toll free at 1-800-724-8078.|