ON TURPENTINE LANE by Elinor Lipman

ON TURPENTINE LANE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A professional thank-you-note writer buys a house with a past and gets more than she bargained for.

Faith Frankel is feeling like a bit of a loser. She has a futureless job writing letters to alumni in the development department of her old private school. Her fiance, who gave her a piece of red thread in lieu of an engagement ring, is on a cross-country walk to benefit his own personal growth and is documenting the trip on Facebook with selfies that include smiling ex-girlfriends in locations across the country. Her insurance-agent father has become a painter in his retirement and left her mother for the woman who convinced him to start a bat-mitzvah-gift forgery business. “She asked if he could make a copy of Chagall, but perhaps more lavender than blue—purple was their daughter’s favorite color—and work her daughter’s name into it, and give the angel her face, with her bangs but without her braces.” This, it turns out, is a business model whose time has come. When Faith finds, in the attic of her new little house, a photo album containing images of what may be dead twin babies, she's so creeped out that she offers her empty second bedroom to her handsome, kind, newly single, and homeless officemate. Nick Franconi is another idea whose time has come. Of course things will get worse before they get better, with the local police department ripping up her basement in search of murder evidence and a scandal at the office in which Faith is accused of funneling a huge alumni donation to her fiance. Lipman (The View from Penthouse B, 2013, etc.) is known for her dialogue, so snappy, funny, and real that it cancels out any dubiousness about the kooky mystery plot.

Warm, clever, a little silly, a lot of fun.

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-544-80824-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2016




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