It's most definitely no page-turner. The plot is based on some pretty ludicrous premise and the story progresses painfully slow as our heartbroken heroine runs around pretty much with no apparent (or at least working) plan about solving the case. We need to wait for 100 pages for the first (and the only one) corpse!? One thing that helped me pass time was counting occurrences of the word "love".
But on the other hand, I have found Miss Donovan to be a really interesting lady, far from some stereotypical blonde bimbo. Sure, I prefer to have my private detectives more hard-boiled but in this one, the lack of toughness and witty one-liners is well compensated with well defined and developed character. Eli is an ex-burlesque girl (!), ex-Marine (!!) who needs no man to take care of her and has her life priorities all figured out. Check out the 'title' section of the facts below and you'll see what I mean,
And to return to the plotline - yes, it is a bit bonkers and not very plausible but at the same time it's at least original and there are some twists and turns towards the end. The final revelation makes sense which is something we cannot really say for some of these old paperbacks we are addicted to, right?
Hardly my cup of tea, but still I'm glad I've checked it out. It seems like one of those unfortunate ones that were simply ahead of its time. Not just because it has a female protagonist but also because of its feminist angle (again, check out the 'title' section below). I suspect the publishers didn't quite know how to promote it as the first edition's cover portrays a damsel in distress which Eli is most definitely not. It took Gold Medal eight (!) years to reprint it and the second time around they gave it a more proper illustration. Who knows how the sales would have been affected if these two covers were reversed...