The backstory: A Bad Day for Sorry was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel written by an American Author in 2010.
The basics: Stella, a much larger woman than the one depicted on the book cover, is a fifty-year-old widow living in rural Missouri. She owns a sewing machine shop and repair store. She's a widow; she killed her long-time abusive husband. Stella also runs a side business where she threatens (and uses force) against men who have mistreated the women in their lives to scare them straight.
My thoughts: Sophie Littlefield has created a memorable character in Stella and an unusual, but compelling mystery story. The mystery part of this novel involves the search for Tucker, the 18-month-old son of Stella's newest client, Chrissy. Stella doesn't play by the rules of law, but she does have a crush on the sheriff, so he pops up from time to time. This premise could easily veer into stereotypical or ridiculous territory, but Stella's sassiness and sweetness are beautifully mixed with raw humanity and honesty. Littlefield manages to interject serious issues of domestic violence with humor and never lets her characters become one-dimensional.
While Stella and I are worlds apart, I enjoyed reading about her life. Littlefield captured the quirkiness of rural Missouri beautifully.
The verdict: A Bad Day for Sorry is funny, quirky, suspenseful, and original. It's sure to delight mystery fans and fans of Southern fiction. The second Stella Hardesty novel, A Bad Day for Pretty, was published June 8, 2010.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Length: 279 pages
Publication date: it's out in paperback now
Source: my local public library
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