A dispirited divorcée goes to work for a detective agency, with all the resulting comedy and romance you’d expect from Crusie (Welcome to Temptation, 2000, etc.).
“I’m dead. And I don’t think I’m coming back,” says Nell Dysart. And in truth Nell hasn’t done much but mope since her husband Tim left, on Christmas Day, 18 months ago. But all that changes when Tim’s brother Jack tells Gabriel McKenna that she’d be a great temporary replacement for the ailing secretary Gabe shares with his cousin and partner Riley. Nell replaces the cousins’ antique coffeemaker, spruces up the office, cleans the bathroom, sets the files in order, and incidentally finds evidence of recent embezzlement and ancient fraud. Why did Patrick McKenna, Gabe’s late father, accept a 1977 Porsche as a gift from Jack’s law partner Trevor Ogilvie? If he was covering up something suspicious about the suicide of Trevor’s first wife Helena, then what do Nell’s best friends, Jack’s wife Suze and Helena’s daughter Margie, know about the case? There’s just enough present-day menace to convince Nell that the past isn’t really dead and buried—and just enough to add spice to the real business at hand, which is to get Nell detached from the hopeless man in her past—the multiple kiss-off scenes are scabrously entertaining—so that she can start worrying about the very real problems of commitment to a man actually worth bedding down with. And Crusie, who can make something special out of a scene in which Nell and her friends unpack her china, seems incapable of writing a boring page, or one that’s not aglow with the sparks of wit and romance.
Move over, Susan Isaacs. Crusie is just as smart and sassy about the things a woman has to do to make love work, and a lot funnier to boot.