Enterprising Wollstonecraft Shelley has to date 40 men in 60 days and somehow stay alive in this thoroughly engaging screwball debut mystery.
The Dating Experiment is meant to be serious research in the interest of social science. How? Why? Don’t ask. Suffice it to say that Wollie’s date-rich research gets sidetracked when, en route to a mental hospital to visit her schizophrenic brother, she almost rams her VW into an inert object—a dead body with a bullet in its head. Wollie, the manager of a modest greeting-card business, is about to become the hostage of a darkly handsome man with a gun who turns out to be her type. She’s not only embarrassed but amazed because “it had been so long since I’d been attracted to anyone, I was no longer sure I had a type.” Additional corpses, furious car chases, an adorable pet ferret named Margaret owned by a sad-eyed little girl named Ruby, a MacGuffin stashed in a synagogue, assorted homicidal Mafiosi (two of them surprisingly Nordic), and love’s labor lost and found often impede—but never quite foil—some fancy detective work by Wollie.
Rejoice: Newcomer Wollie is funny, brave, smart, and altogether the fetchingest crime fiction heroine since the early Stephanie Plum.