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    Review of THE WRONG STUFF by Sharon Fiffer


    St. Martin's Minotaur, November 2003

    When her friend's wife is accused of murder, part-time antique picker, part time private detective, and part time bad-mom Jane Wheeler and her gay friend Tim set off for a fine furniture comune. Jane quickly finds another victim and an even bigger mystery. Nobody in the comune seems completely happy, but there certainly don't seem to be any reason why someone would kill. Still, two people are dead now and Jane knows that her friend's wife is innocent.

    Jane's investigation turns up plenty of problems, and puts her in danger of being killed herself, but it is cryptic clues from her distant mother and strange vibes from the local residents that finally give her the intuitive leap to solving the mystery.

    Author Sharon Fiffer (see more reviews of novels by Fiffer) does an excellent job portraying Jane Wheeler's troubles with stuff--she is so intent on buying stuff that her house and garage overflow and she gets so distracted she forgets to sign her son's permission slip for a field trip--and integrating it into the story. The plot line about antique furniture and faked antiques is intriguing and Sharon's research adds to the story without drawing the reader out of it.

    Fiffer's writing is fresh and funny. Jane is a charming character whose problems create reader identification (who hasn't been overwhelmed by too much of the Wrong Stuff), and her concerns over reaching middle age, being a good mother, and balancing her careers all ring true. THE WRONG STUFF is the right stuff as far as light-hearted mysteries go. Recommended.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/27/04

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