JUST THE FAX, MA'AM by Leslie O'Kane


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 In a follow-up to Death and Faxes (1996), greeting-card cartoonist Molly Masters returns, with engineer husband Jim and two young children, to Carlton, her hometown, after a 17-year absence. Living nearby are little-liked Preston Saunders; his pregnant, shrewish wife Stephanie; and their daughter Tiffany, a high- schooler. One morning Saunders visits Molly to tell her that he entered a raunchy cartoon of hers in a porn magazine contest--and it's won the $1,000 prize. A bit later a messenger arrives, leaving a nasty package and a threat from STOP, a feminist anti-porn group. That same morning Molly gets a frantic call from Stephanie, who has found her husband shot to death on the kitchen floor. She wants Molly to help find the killer, although she appears to suspect Tiffany or Cherokee Taylor, her daughter's teenaged Romeo. Meanwhile, Molly, infuriating Sergeant Tommy Newton of the local police, to say nothing of long-suffering husband Jim, embarks on an investigative crusade. It takes her, in disguise, to Tiffany's school, then to the country club golf course where Saunders had a regular foursome with partners who heartily detested him. Turns out there's a dining-room waitress with good reason to feel the same. Molly succeeds in her mission, of course--finishing up with a meant-to-be hair-raising ride with the killer. An absurd story full of abrasive characters, of whom Molly may be the least attractive--a busybody with a smart mouth and an overwhelming need for the spotlight. Smirks, not smiles, are the order of the day here, and the incoherent plotting is no help.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14637-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996