Kids do the darnedest things—drugs, murder, and turning a campy auntie into a devoted handmaiden.
The Clifford wedding is a shambles. The groom swan-dives into an empty pool while his guests hallucinate, his bride carries on with the best man, and his father, a teacher, wonders whether someone’s laced his food with magic mushrooms to avenge a student suicide. To fend off possible lawsuits, Minneapolis caterer/sometime sleuth Jane Lawless (Immaculate Midnight, 2002, etc.) starts an investigation of her own that makes little headway—until one of her kitchen staff is knifed, and a major babe insisting she’s a p.i. sows doubts about Clifford senior, whose wife was having an affair and whose students now accuse him of pedophilia. Was Clifford a good guy or a former 15-year-old druggie who let his sister Patsy be kidnapped back in Kansas in 1972, then killed a kid and took off, emerging 30 years later under a new name? It all plays out unbelievably as Jane snuggles up to the ersatz p.i. and her best chum Cordelia steals a moment from doting on her baby niece Hattie to create a dramatic diversion and save the day.
Cordelia, weaning baby Hattie from cartoons to Bette Davis movies, is enough to make you slog through the tedious plot, Jane’s schmaltzy new romance, and the ancient newspaper excerpts. Give the gal her own book already.