Mrs. Million

Pete Hautman, Author
Pete Hautman, Author Simon & Schuster $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-83243-2
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In a Minnesota peopled by Salem-smoking, cake-baking women and their disappointing, truant men, Hautman's faded rose Barbaraannette kills time and stakes her hopes on daily Powerball. The dumbest thing that Barbaraannette ever did was to marry her two-timing high school sweetheart Bobby Quinn--but the second dumbest is to offer up a hefty chunk of the $9-million lotto jackpot she's just won as a reward for his safe return. Missing for six years, having left only a broken-down Jeep and some abandoned fishing gear in his wake, Bobby Quinn has changed his name to Steele and is shacked up in Tucson with an untrustworthy ladyfriend named Phlox. When Barbaraannette's ship comes in, the couple see an opportunity for an easy swindle. They're not alone in this: friends of Bobby's whom he once gypped, professional crooks, extortionists and leeches of all kinds circle in on Barbaraannette's cash. And Barbaraannette 's protective sisters and senile mother will all butt in to protect her from herself. Hautman (Short Money) brings these eccentrics to life in a swift-paced, none-too-serious but colorful story with lots of entertainment potential. (Mar. )
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