Margie Peterson is a typical stay-at-home mom until she trades dishes for detective work to become Austin’s least-likely PI. Soon she’s knee-deep in cheating husbands, transvestites, and trouble in a laugh-out-loud new mystery from award-winning author Karen MacInerney. With a husband who works long hours trying to make partner and two rambunctious kids that are running her ragged, Margie Peterson is like any other worn-out suburban mom. When she decides to take a job as a PI for a seedy local detective agency, everything changes. It doesn’t take long for Margie to get in over her head: Her first day on the job she totals her minivan, mistakenly enters a drag contest, and winds up in the bathroom with a dead transvestite. But when Margie finds her home number in the victim’s phone, things really start to get interesting.
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Yet another bargain book success! Never heard of either the book or the author, but decided to roll the dice and take a chance -- and once again, that was a good idea.
It's funny, they say there are only four basic plots in all of fiction, but I'm not sure how that accounts for this one. As the story evolves, a pretty unique situation reveals itself -- although in today's crazy world I suppose it isn't quite as unique as I think it is. Even so, this was like nothing I'd ever read before. I loved the freshness of the whole thing.
Karen MacInerny has created interesting, likable characters and structured a truly unique plot but what makes this book a real delight is how funny it is. One of the side-stories deals with how Margie, formerly a stay at home mother, now a new, untrained, part-time private eye, is forced to deal with the head of her daughter's day care center. My kids are grown now, but it seems to me I had some of those same inane discussions with a similar Witch in Power when they were little -- you know, the "Solve (this issue with your child) by tomorrow, or we're expelling her." No, my daughter hadn't decided that she was a dog -- with all that entails, including eating on the floor, barking, biting, etc -- but I seem to recall similar disputes and similar chaos. And I also recall spending some evenings with one kid or the other, explaining just how important to Life As We Know it, that they amend their conduct by tomorrow morning, or all hell was going to break loose. Like Margie, I simply could not deal with having to find new child care arrangements. I'm sure most other working mothers will have had similar experiences. Odd how much more fun it is to remember those situations than was dealing with them in the first place!
Also odd was that so many readers compared this book to those of Janet Evanovitch. I don't get that at all. I've read/tried to read a couple of Evanovitch's books, and didn't enjoy them at all -- I've stopped even looking at her series. To me, the Evanovitch books came across as downright silly, whereas this one was genuinely funny. All in the eyes of the beholder, I suppose.
So? All in all, a good book and a great narrator. I'll be looking for more.
I found it hard to believe the main character had lived to adulthood and motherhood given her ineptitude. Too bad the character couldn't have a little more common sense and attentiveness to what is going on around her.