Review of SAVANNAH BLUES by Mary Kay Andrews (see her website)
Perennial/HarperCollins, 2002 (paperback 2003)
Eloise "Weezie" Foley went from dream marriage to divorce from hell in a heartbeat. Losing her husband of ten years, Talmadge Evans III, was painful, but losing the historic townhouse she had spent years lovingly restoring was torture. But the real bite was the bone thrown to her in divorce court--the carriage house. Weezie's new abode was literally in Talmadge's back yard, where she was forced to watch as Tal's young, stylish, and supremely bitchy fiancee, Caroline DeSantos, moved into the townhouse.
But Weezie was too stubborn to sell out and move. She was determined to prove she was over Tal and to continue doing what she loved, which was picking through estate sales, flea markets and Dumpsters for treasure she could sell at a profit to her antiques dealer clients. She'd been planning to turn the carriage house into her own little shop, but the divorce had delayed that dream.
Weezie and Caroline go head to head over a crumbling plantation house. Caroline has big plans to bulldoze the historic building and put up a paper mill. Weezie wants to save the house as a historic landmark--and get her hands on the fabulous, valuable antiques within. One cupboard in particular has caught her eye. If she can score it, she'll make enough profit to open her shop.
But Weezie's overzealous interest in the house and an upcoming sale of the contents lands her squarely in the middle of a murder investigation--with the murder weapon in her possession. And in the middle of everything, she's trying to deal with a mother whose drinking problem has hit a crisis point, as well as a formerly-nerdy-boyfriend-turned-hunk who still has the hots for her.
This book was so much fun to read. It's been a long time since I could cheer for a heroine as endearing as Weezie. The characters were sharply drawn and so true to live, even as they were exaggerated. Weezie's best friend, Bebe Loudermilk, is a delight, and her uncle, an ex-priest-turned-lawyer coming to terms with his homosexuality, is a wonderful character. Much of the book is told from his point of view, in third person, while the rest is first person from Weezie's viewpoint. It's an odd set-up, but it works.
If there was any fault to find in this book, it was that the author went a little gentle with the heroine. Yes, Weezie got herself into terrible fixes, but there were times when she wiggled off the hook a bit too easily. (For example, though she was initially suspected of murder, no one really thought she did it and she was never charged.) Also, the solution to the mystery was less than satisfying. I can't say more than that without giving something away.
Still, the book was so thoroughly readable, so engaging, that I didn't really care about the mystery all that much. I just wanted to keep spending time with those delightful characters.
Ready to buy? Click the 'buy from Amazon button':