Indiana Herald June 23, 2001
The Herald Book Shelf
Last Days Murder List written by Alice Holman was an action
packed suspenseful mystery which grabbed me on the first page and didn't stop
until the last sentence.
Waitress Billiemae was at her neighbor Amelia's drinking and
attempted to kill an annoying fly, missed, and hit her neighbor. Amelia fell to
the floor pulling everything from the table on top of her. A frightened
Billiemae fled from the apartment fearing that she had killed her friend. She
had scurried off to work at Momma LaVerne's Lounge afraid and feeling that she
needed to establish an alibi. All during her shift, she was so upset that she
spilled chitlings grease on a patron's dress, dropped glasses and got most of
the orders mixed up.
After work, she enlisted the help of Pharaoh Blue to go back to
her neighbor's apartment to check and see if she was really dead. But Pharaoh
was somewhat busy trying to talk to his ex-girl friend, Maris and keep her crazy
husband Rick from whipping her behind.
Eventually the two of them paired up to investigate what had
really happened to Amelia, who was found with a bullet to her head. During their
amateur investigating folks started dropping like flies. Pharaoh and Billiemae's
snooping around almost got them killed. The local police investigator was
suspicious of their innocence since they seemed to be the one's to find the
bodies and forbade them from leaving town.
A series of strange events took place including hits of
pornography, which started Billiemae wondering what her friend, Amelia had done
for a living. As much as she had talked to Amelia, she had to listened long enough
to her conversations to know much about her. She couldn't remember what type of
work her friend used to do.
Everything eventually falls into place with the murder
surprisingly being discovered right under everyone's noses. I really enjoyed
reading this mystery novel and would highly recommend it.
Review by Lena Williams
A Witty, Folksy Mystery, May 18, 2001
Last Days Murder List is the first novel by author Alice Holman. Holman spins a
witty mystery which transports the reader to Denver along with the characters.
Last Days Murder List opens with the murder of Amelia Benson, next door
neighbor and friend of Billiemae Waller, a wise cracking and tough talking
cocktail waitress, who on occasion drinks too much. Billiemae elicts assistance
from her ex-lover, Pharoah Blue (a brother with a Superman complex) to help her
find out what caused Amelia's demise. Through their investigation, Billiemae and
Pharoah uncover that the prudish appearing Amelia was far from the angelic
senior citizen that she professed to be.
In addition to Billiemae and Pharoah, readers meet Maris and Rick Lane. Maris
is a non-assertive, people pleasing college administrator, stuck in an abusive
marriage and struggling to find her voice. Rick is her abusive, adulterous
husband, a "wannabe" social climber who only manages to be an
underachieving mail clerk. Rick's abuse of Maris forces her to finally take a
These four characters are linked by seemingly unrelated string of events
which build to a tension filled climax. There are a host of humorous, folksy
characters in Last Days Murder List. Holman deftly deals with some weighty
issues in a delicate and intriguing manner.
A R.A.W. Sistaz Review
Reviewed by: Diane Marbury (HonestD)
A murderously smashing debut!, July 8, 2001
Alice Holman joins the select list of African-American female mystery writers
with her fast-paced, page turner Last Days Murder List. Set in Denver, the story
features an assortment of highly developed and recognizable characters linked to
a complex mystery of murder, suspense and wonderfully developed twists and
turns. The key protagonists, Billiemae and Pharoah are a wonderful combination
of guts and guile, fun and frantic and an inner drive to be together, inspite of
the obstacles. The tone and quality of the story are far superior to most debut
authors and it is my sincere hope that we haven't seen the last of Billiemae and
Pharoah. This is a must read for mystery enthusiasts and clearly explains why
Alice Holman was the clear choice to win the 2001 Chester Himes award.
Congratulations colleague. Please keep the stories coming!
Review by: Lee E. Meadows from Detroit, Mich
Who killed Amelia
I never thought it was Pharaoh, but wonder if Maris had known about Rick and
she did it. This was a great murder mystery book. A great book for book clubs.
Can't wait to read Alice Homan next book.
Review by: Lauretta from Colorado
A Must READ!, January 5, 2001
When I picked it up I didn't put it down until I was done! The author had me
laughing out loud at the antics of Billiemae, the amateur sleuth in the mystery.
The suspense was maintained up until the very end. On the pages in between I
felt sorry for Maris, a supporting character who should be living a comfortable
life, but is instead, married to a terrible man with hidden objectives.
Pharoah, the love interest is strong, confident and steady... but who's love
interest is he?... you don't find out until the end, but he helps Billiemae
solve the murder she thinks she committed while drinking with a friend.
I can't wait for the sequel...
Reviewer: Honi Alexander from Denver, Colorado