Cover image for The end of marriage
The end of marriage
Vida, Nina.
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Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2002]

Physical Description:
286 pages ; 24 cm
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A bittersweet love story and an offbeat murder mystery, this work by the author of Between Sisters celebrates the bonds of family and love in a unique and unforgettable voice.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Vida's sixth novel is a nontraditional take on the detective story. The mystery begins when Ellie Holmgen gets a phone call from her mild-mannered older sister, Alice, who explains that she has just killed her husband. Alice claims that the shooting was an accident, and she rearranges the scene to look like a suicide. Ellie is skeptical, but she sticks to her sister's story when the detectives arrive. One of the detectives is Teo Domingos, a lonely and troubled man who is promptly suspended after his antagonistic visit with the sisters. Convinced that they are lying, however, he cannot let go of the case and begins to follow them. He quickly finds himself becoming a part of their lives and falls in love with Ellie, another troubled soul. Meanwhile, Ellie can't shake the feeling that her sister is hiding something, and as she comes closer to prying out the real and surprising story, Teo is sidetracked by his own family problems. A kindhearted portrait of three quirky characters drawn together by circumstance. --Carrie Bissey

Publisher's Weekly Review

Vida's sixth novel wraps up many dissolving marriages in the skein of a lively plot that centers around Teo Domingos, who's a Mexican-American Vietnam veteran and homicide cop in the Newport Beach Police Department, and Ellie Holmgren, a divorced restaurant manager whose eight-year-old son has recently died. Their paths cross when Teo is called to investigate the death of Ellie's abusive brother-in-law, Morty Miller. Though Teo suspects that Ellie's sister, Alice, killed him, the evidence he needs eludes him, so he begins trailing the sisters and following up odd leads that take him from pricey West Los Angeles to the lockdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Woven through this murder mystery are the dramas of Teo's and Ellie's families, including several failed and failing marriages Teo's, Ellie's and Alice's, just for starters and some major family secrets. Vida (Between Sisters; Goodbye, Saigon) is resourceful at plotting and a deft hand at creating vivid minor characters, though she's less successful with her central characters. Ellie and Alice never come into sharp relief, and as the conflicted Vietnam vet, Teo will seem a touch too familiar. His life as a homicide cop, however, is described without clich (no small achievement) and his complicated domestic life is portrayed without sentimentality. Vida manages to juggle her busy plot so the characters who deserve a bit of happiness at last find it. Agent, Susan Gleason. (May) Forecast: This could be a tricky sell, since it's neither full-fledged romance nor mystery, but expect strongest sales in southern California. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Like her previous novel Between Sisters, Vida's sixth centers on a sibling relationship. At the center of the book is Ellie Holmgen, whose sister Alice confesses to her that she just shot her husband. Detective Teo Domingos, a Vietnam vet, is quick to suspect that the sisters' story of suicide is a cover-up. Ellie drops everything to take care of the much older, ailing Alice, while Teo, still dealing with his memories of Vietnam, is forced to take a leave from work. At the same time, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Ellie while compulsively continuing to pursue the case. This work is about the bonds of family Teo's ties to his dysfunctional Mexican American siblings, Ellie's grief over the death of her son, and Alice's revelation of long-buried family secrets. The pacing of the novel is odd, slowing down for detailed asides and then lurching from one point of view to another and favoring show-stopping one-liners at the end of each chapter. But while the withdrawn and bewildered Ellie and the belligerent, obsessive Teo are difficult characters to like, Vida makes them sympathetic and believable. Recommended for larger fiction collections. Christine Perkins, Jackson Cty. Lib. Svcs., Medford, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.