Jan 1, 1991

The Trouble with a Small Raise

The Trouble with a Small Raise
A Simona Griffo Mystery
by Trella Crespi

Where I Get My Ideas

I was angry with my boss. I wanted to kill him. When I told him I'd committed murder on paper and he was the corpse, his response was, "A lot of women have written about me." I may just have to kill him again.


New York City -- Greenwich Village where she lives, the Union Square area where she works.

Simona comes to the advertising agency early one Monday morning, hoping to catch her boss and ask for a long-deserved raise. Instead she finds him dead. She is busy working on a new perfume campaign, but she's appointed the agency's liaison with the police. That's how she gets to spend time with Stan Greenhouse and his partner Raf Garcia. She shares cooking tips with Raf, but Stan is the one who gives her hormones a big surge. When Simona gets implicated in her boss's death, she sets out to clear herself.

There are a lot of characters in A Small Raise. Apart from giving the reader a fun mystery, I was trying to describe the New York advertising world which is full of many egos. I added a Cast of Characters at the beginning, something I've continued in my other mysteries.


Nothing spoils the fun of this thoroughly engrossing whodunit, introducing one of the boldest and most likable of female sleuths. -- Publisher's Weekly

Ms. Crespi truly shines in the humor department....Though her characterization of Simona Griffo was wonderful and her portrayal of the inner workings of an ad agency was realistic and richly detailed, Ms. Crespi did not write what I consider a taut, well-honed mystery. There are far too many characters to keep up with: twenty-three to be exact, many of whom had French, Italian or Spanish names -- pretty darned confusing when trying to figure out the culprit. -- Mostly Murder

Author comment -- Too many foreign names? Ever look at the New York City phone book?

The Beginning

It wasn't going to be the usual manic Monday someone on the radio was singing about. It was going to be much worse.


There's no separate recipe in this one. Simona cooks an eggplant pasta dish with a friend while discussing possible suspects. After the book was published I got two conflicting complaints: 1. All of a sudden it sounded like a cook book! 2. I want to cook that dish but you didn't give the exact proportions!

That's when I decided to put the recipe in the back from then on. At the time I hadn't heard of Virginia Rich and Diane Mott Davidson whose first book was published only a few months before mine.