She sounds like your high school Home Economics teacher, or the Hall Mother in your college Dormitory, or your new semi-retired accountant: clear, crisp, well organized and about 23 pounds overweight. She sounds pretty and pinkish and lipsticked. She is in her mid fifties and owns a Needlework Shop in Minnesota, which is confusing and full of lakes and coldish people. She has also developed a refreshingly useful talent for finding the truth about a murder. She never takes money, admits her amateur status, and uses nothing but her friends and neighbors and her clear, crisp, organized accountant’s mind as sources of information. She makes you feel like your world is only temporarily messy, and can be good as new and cute as a button if you just found her kind of Mary Poppins — inside your head. Good luck.
Also Recommended: Crewel World (the first and best of the Needlecraft Mystery series), A Stitch in Time, Buttons and Bones, A Murderous Yarn
As tempting and tasty as yellow cake are these novels about single but not terribly singular women, suddenly alone or suddenly in trouble or suddenly displaced. If they had worked they become domestic, if they had had money they no longer do, if they had been married, they are divorced, if they had been transient and urban they inherit old houses, if they had been housekeepers, they lose their house. Now, after all, is not the age of keeping, houses or wives or economic models or anything else.
Something is lost and these women are forced to find it — some Lacanian objet a — again… Like all lost objects their identities must be refound, rebuilt or redecorated. And so must Lucy’s.
Lucy is, or was, a successful criminal lawyer until the day she discovers that one of her clients is, or was, guilty. She quits, moves to the suburbs, and makes popcorn balls. Yep. She does not however quit her more or less absentee boyfriend, whom she plans to marry sometime soon. Then the Feds pay her a visit, and she is told that the man who she thinks is her boyfriend is really someone else, a very bad someone else… (Amazing how often this kind of thing happens. See: Taken by Barbara Freethy; Pacific Heights, Paul Harper)
To add to her woes, she is hit by a power line which has fallen during a storm, and is now able to tell what the people around her are thinking. This is disconcerting, but useful in dealing with FBI agents.
Lucy also has a dog and a neighbor with a dog who are fond and protective of her throughout her ordeal.