THE CLUB by Jane Heller


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A recently fired cookbook editor and frustrated wife finds herself at the center of a cartoonish Connecticut country club murder: a well-meaning but uninspired second novel from Heller (Cha Cha Cha, 1994). Judy Price is in suburban hell: Her high-profile publishing job at Charlton House is history, her stepdaughter is a spoiled brat, and Hunt, her endearing but golf-obsessed husband, has lost all interest in sex and won't stop pressuring her to accompany him to The Oaks, his beloved (and unbearably stuffy) club. Then a positive change appears on Judy's horizon in the form of Claire Cox -- the nation's most prominent feminist and grandniece of the club's chairman of the Board of Governors -- who decides not only to join The Oaks but to bring it into the '90s. Claire's attempts to induct other single women, fire the roving-eyed tennis pro, and replace the lackluster chef enrage The Oaks's old guard. But Judy, hardly a fan of the club's chauvinistic policies and back-stabbing golf widows, has a plan of her own: to revive her career by cowriting a cookbook with the famous and glamorous Claire, who happens to be a world-class cook. Judy's hopes are dashed, however, when she finds Claire bludgeoned to death in a sand trap. Sexy, handsome detective Tom Cunningham convinces a shell-shocked Judy to become an informant for the Belford Police Department, since Claire's murderer is thought to be a member of The Oaks. No one will escape Judy's suspicion on her quest to find the killer, but the inevitable conclusion is hardly a surprise: Hunt and Judy rather effortlessly and melodramatically both solve the murder and save their marriage. Familiar characters, predictable plot, and lackluster dialogue, but fun for the ritzy details: a good-natured murder story with the appealing camp of a TV movie-of-the-week.

Pub Date: July 6th, 1995
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Kensington