Is it coincidence that a mystery centering on a woman who can't do much for herself is set in Independence, Kan.?
Granted, the past several years have been tough for Amy Crosby, who makes her living writing short stories for a confessions magazine. Her husband, Dan, disappeared without a trace. He wasn't the type to step out, but without a body, Amy can't be sure she's really a widow. For seven years she has been living in limbo. Now money's getting tight, she's about to lose her house and reluctantly she realizes she needs a court to declare her husband dead so she can settle his estate.
Then she finds the blackmail note, tucked into a book on her coffee table.
If that's not a wakeup call to get the locks on her house changed (she lost the key), what is?
With the help of her best friend, her seance-holding mother-in-law and a dangerously attractive local cop, Amy tries to find out what happened to her husband. She doesn't have many skills, but as a writer Amy is good at research. The deeper she probes into the past, though, the more apparent it becomes that someone has a secret they would kill to keep hidden. Sass doesn't come easy for Amy, but she needs to cobble together all the "unnatural sass" she can to solve the mystery, save her home — and save herself.
Absent-minded and with an active fantasy life — "I can't help being how I am. I get lost in my stories," she tells her friend Sue Ann — Amy fends off sadness with her oddball humor. Although no one could say Amy is moving forward with her life since Dan's disappearance, she is getting by.
Since this book by Florida resident Kathy Carmichael came out in October, I can't exactly call it a beach read. But if you need a break from all the dreary political news of the season, pour a cup of apple cider, settle into a rocker on the lanai and enjoy autumn with this amusing, madcap page-turner.
Kate Brassfield can be reached at email@example.com.