The Trouble with Harriet

Dorothy Cannell, Author Viking Books $21.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-670-88629-6
At the beginning of this slapstick sequel to The Spring Cleaning Murders, Ellie Haskell and her husband, Ben, have left their three children with his parents and are about to depart Chitterton Falls, England, for a romantic vacation in France. But before they can get away, Ellie's gallivanting father, Morley, who abandoned her after her mother's death, returns with an urn containing the ashes of his most recent girlfriend, Harriet. Morley is supposed to pass the urn to the deceased's closest relatives, who live near Ellie's home, but he's too distraught to part with the remains. As Ellie hears the tale of her father's short tryst and his beloved's sudden death, she suspects that Harriet may have been involved in some shady business. Her concern mounts when she meets Harriet's brusque relatives. Meanwhile, Ellie's cousin Freddy and her redoubtable housecleaner, Mrs. Malloy, worry over their parts in the upcoming parish play. As Ellie, Ben, Freddie and Mrs. Malloy try to cheer up the inconsolable Morley and convince him to relinquish Harriet's ashes, more people turn up searching for the urn, and Ellie begins to wonder what's really in the shoddy vessel and whether her father was involved in Harriet's demise. A forgetful pastor and Freddy's kleptomaniac mother provide additional humor for this oddball story dominated by daffy characters and physical comedy. The suspense is so slow going, in fact, that die-hard cozy fans may wonder what happened to the mystery in this novel, enjoyable as it is. Mystery Guild selection; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 304 pages - 978-0-7865-0928-7
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-14-029182-7
Paperback - 353 pages - 978-1-56895-833-0
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