In the latest installment of Hassler's series set in the bucolic town of Staggerford, he turns his attention to the quirky residents of Sunset Senior Apartments and the tragicomic exploits of retired schoolteacher Agatha McGee. Staid and prim, Agatha is insulted by the idea of a retirement center even at the age of 87, but a severe ice storm shows her how helpless she's become, and she warms to the idea of trading independence for ""neighbors in the next apartment who would come to her aid."" However, she soon finds that Sunset Senior's wacky inhabitants are going to put an end to her orderly existence. After Agatha's brooch goes missing, her friend Lillian hatches a plan to hide the residents' most prized belongings in a shoebox. But the plan goes awry when Lillian dies and the box, which could contain a winning lottery ticket, is accidentally buried with the casket. The story chronicles a funeral, an exhumation, a lover spurned and a bumbled kidnapping, as Agatha finds that old age doesn't put an end to misadventure. Hassler's storytelling shines when he injects misbehavior, misanthropy and the malcontent with warmth and good-natured humor. His love of this town is palpable, making for an enjoyable read full of sweet characters and moments.
Reviewed on: 11/28/2005 Release date: 12/01/2005 Genre: Fiction