Moxie is reading and wonders…..

HOME SWEET MURDER

TALES OF A TENACIOUS HOUSESITTER

by Theresa M. Jarvela

Meggie Moore is one silly woman. Working part time in a gift shop is not enough for her. The typically energetic Minnesotan leaves her husband Walter at home to house sit, attracted by the extra income, even though there have been two burglaries on the lake where she will be alone in a cabin. With only a flashlight and a cell phone – both of which have pretty good chances of running out of juice – she goes snooping and slipping and sliding around Spirit Lake after burglars — and murderers.

The story involves a wealthy Spirit Lake family whose house is broken into after she arrives at the Browns. The wife does not survive. It’s not clear why. You’d think at this point Walter would insist Meggie come back to town, and maybe even give her a little pin money to make up for it, but he doesn’t. Instead it is her most annoying friend, Shirley, who comes to help her out when she is in danger, or perhaps she wants to join in the fun. Fortunately, the two plucky dames know how to kayak and seem to be in pretty good shape, considering that they spend an awful lot of time eating cookies and muffins.

Reading this cozy by Theresa Jarvela brought to my mind all the hours I spent with my nose in books about Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton in the 1940 and 50s. What is it about being an amateur sleuth that is so attractive to girls? Some people think that the relative boredom of female lives drives us to fictional adventures. Girls back then were not often allowed out of the restricted time frame and geographic location prescribed by proper parents. In fact young women and housewives of the 1950-60s were kept on a tight leash. I suddenly remembered that when I was watching The Bletchley Circle on television recently.  You obeyed your husband, and you kept your innermost thoughts from him, and wrote your brilliant ideas in a journal or poem. The Bletchley girls, code-breakers in World War II, were of course very bright and had exciting careers; they just couldn’t talk about them.

Meggie Moore had a bit of that spirit. She keeps her husband at a distance so she can do what she wants to do. It is a real throwback to old times – which Meggie would have known. I can’t help but wonder how often women, when they reach an advanced age, decide share-and-share-alike is “for the birds.”

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North Star Press, 2012

ISBN 978-0-87839-587-3 (print) and ISBN 978-087839-869-0 (e-book)

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