Glass, best known for her April Woo mysteries (Tracking Time, 2000), uses the incapacitating, but not quite fatal, stroke of an unfaithful husband as the wellspring for a romantic comedy in basic black.
Wine importer Mitchell Sales picks a really bad time to break his pattern of never coming home early from his frequent business trips: the moment when his wife Cassandra, whose bruises and stitches from her secret facelift haven’t yet had a chance to heal, is trying on a very expensive nightgown she hasn’t yet realized was purchased for someone else. Keeling over, Mitch is rushed to intensive care, where he settles into a deep coma as his children shop for prospective mates: a neurologist for his daughter Marsha, a buxom nurse for his son Teddy. Loyal-to-the-last Cassie, still in shock and denial, returns home to find Charles Schwab—not the brokerage-firm chief, but an IRS agent suspicious of Mitch’s well-stocked private cellar and the staggering personal charges Cassie has run up—staking out her house in preparation for an audit. Eventually, even Cassie realizes that Mitch had been “a fog machine,” hiding assets from her, lying about all that business travel, and opening charge accounts in her name for the Other Woman, who signed her every e-mail “M knocks your socks off.” The O.W., Mitch’s restaurant consultant Mona Whitman, is already plotting to consolidate her position in vegetative Mitch’s life when Cassie roars into her home like a bat out of hell. The ensuing battle, which packs all the bitchy charm of a good wet–T-shirt fight, will soon center on the bodies of supine Mitch and inquisitive Charlie.
The results are eminently predictable but scabrously funny, although the wall-to-wall romantic resolutions (nearly every character mentioned by name ends up finding a mate) carry less conviction than Cassie’s panicky sense of abandonment and her determination to get revenge.