Minotaur, Apr 13 2010, $24.99
In Springfield, Connecticut, gardener Paula Holliday is shocked when the news explodes that one of her clients whom she was considering a partnership with, Caroline Sturgis, is actually Monica Jane Weithorn, who escaped from prison over a quarter of a century ago. Monica Jane had been convicted of drug dealing, but has since straightened out her life becoming a wife and mom as a pillar of society.
Now the “Fugitive Mom” is going back to prison to complete her sentence and probably more for her escape. Caroline’s stunned husband Grant tells Paula his wife is a stranger, but needs to know who turned her in to the authorities. Knowing that Paula has solved cases (see The Big Dirt Nap and Pushing Up Daisies), he hires her to investigate; she accepts as she can use the money with the economy still tanked and besides she is curious too. Her friends Police Sergeant Mike O’Malley and reporter Lucy Cavanaugh also wonder who.
Based on headlines from a few years ago, Dead Head is a terrific amateur sleuth though it is the parallel look at the life (past and Present) of the Fugitive Mom who makes this an exhilarating character driven tale. Fast-paced in both eras, readers will be as spellbound as Paula and the rest of Springfield are comparing Dead Head Monica Jane with family matriarch Caroline.