Paper Phoenix

| August 20, 2013

cover

“My new interest is burglary.When some women get divorced they go back to school, I thought. Some do volunteer work at the hospital, or … have affairs with inappropriate men.”

(That’s early in the book. Later on, she works the man in too.)

Wickedly delicious… What makes (Thompson’s) book so particularly wonderful is the way it accomplishes the detective novel’s covert mission of urban analysis and social criticism.” -San Francisco Examiner

“(Thompson) knows how to create that sense of place which is so important to any novel, but particularly to crime fiction; her characters are believable men and women in a real world…” –P.D. James

First comes divorce, then comes murder…

…or at least sweet thoughts of murder. Maggie Longstreet has plenty of them after slimy, ambitious Richard trades her in for a more recent model. She’s so depressed she can barely get out of bed when Larry Hawkins, a seemingly not-at-all depressed acquaintance, commits suicide out of the blue. Suddenly Maggie goes on high alert, remembering something her evil ex said about Larry—something highly suspicious.

And from there, it’s just a short segué to a bracing new development:

“When some women get divorced they go back to school, I thought. Some do volunteer work at the hospital, or join communes and learn to birth calves. Some have affairs with inappropriate men. My new interest is burglary. Maggie Longstreet, former wife and mother, past president of the Museum Guild, now starting a career as a second-story woman.”

Fortunately, Maggie isn’t alone in her adventure—a very attractive, much younger man proves a lot more fun than Richard ever was. In fact, the real delight of this witty, sly mystery is seeing Maggie come alive again after a suffocating marriage. Set in the’70s, it has a bit of that Mad Men feel of women on the brink of something big. And completely unexpected.

You know Maggie’s going to be okay when she says: “I’d rather have had one of those cute little guns with a mother-of-pearl handle, but this (diamond pin) would have to do. I concealed it in my hand. At least now I was armed—or pinned.”

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