For thirteen years, Dorothy Cannell, the award-winning author of The Thin Woman and The Widows' Club, has enchanted readers who relish Nancy Atherton, Carolyn Hart, and Diane Mutt Davidson. Now she brings us her inimitable Ellie Haskell -- heroine of the weight-loss wars and busy mother of twins -- in a mystery that fizzes with deadly wit.Spring cleaning fever has Ellie nearly scrubbing the Merlin's Court chandeliers with a toothbrush. But when yet another member of the Chitteron Fells Charwomen's Association bites the dust, Ellie swaps scrubbing for sleuthing to find out who has more than dust bunnies and dirty dishes to hide. With Ellie and a madcap cast that includes her handsome husband Bentley, her feckless cousin Freddy, and caustic home helper Mrs. Malloy, The Spring Cleaning Murders is Cannell at her best.
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Housekeepers are dropping like flies in Chitterdon Fells, where designer and sleuth Ellie Haskell (God Save the Queen!, 1997, etc.) lives with restaurant-owner husband Ben and three-year-old twins. Roxie Malloy, the familys longtime domestic, is moving to London to care for the newborn daughter of her son George and daughter-in-law Vanessaa cousin of Ellies and a famous model with no talent for mothering. Mrs. Malloy has appointed Gertrude Large, a fellow member of the Charwomens Association, to take over her job. After only one unsatisfactory workday at Ellies, Mrs. Large is found dead, fallen from a ladder, at Tall Chimneys, home of sister newcomers Vienna and Madrid Miller, during a meeting of the Hearthside Guild. Ellie was there, as were Clarice Whitcombe, also a newcomer, Brigadier Lester-Smith, and Sir Robert and Lady Pomeroy, among others. Mrs. Larges assignments are now undertaken by Trina McKinley, heiress to Larges considerable assets and girlfriend of neer-do-well Joe Tollings. Joe and his wife Marilyn become leading suspects when Trina is found stabbed to death in Mrs. Malloys kitchen. Theres yet another victim in this absurd scenario as Ellies tireless snooping finally brings her face to face with the killer. Over-the-top plotting that gets no help from a torrent of domestic activities, dull dialogues, and an unrelenting air of chirpiness. Strictly for the authors devoted fans. (Mystery Guild main selection; author tour) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Ellie Haskell dons an apron for cover in her latest adventure (following How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams, 1996). Ellie's stalwart helper, Mrs. Malloy, now a relative since her son married Ellie's cousin, gives notice before she leaves the village of Chitterton Fells for London to look after her granddaughter. As a replacement, Ellie enlists Mrs. Large, a fellow member of C.F.C.W.A. (Chitterton Fells Charwomen's Association), who appears distracted and upset on her first day. The following week, Ellie and a neighbor find the charwoman dead from a fall in the neighbor's library. Ellie lines up the help of another C.F.C.W.A. member, but then this woman and, later, another member of the group are found murdered. Mrs. Malloy, now back from London, and Ellie have to do some sleuthing to stop the rampage. Going undercover as a charwoman, Ellie discovers some secrets among the dust bunnies while searching for clues in their neighbors' homes. The house of Haskell, usually at sixes and sevens with each member skittering off on her own agenda, pulls together so that the team of intrepid amateur detectives, led by the redoubtable Mrs. Malloy, can solve the case. Cannell's lively wit and acute insights into marriage, motherhood and murderous inclinations will delight fans as well as readers new to her high-spirited tales. Mystery Guild main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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