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by Mary Anne Kelly

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-31065-X
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Much gooey romance and a spark or two of arson befall newly divorced Claire Breslinsky (Keeper of the Mill, 1995, etc.) when she moves herself and her two teenagers, Anthony and Tree, into a mansion much in need of renovation in Richmond Hill, Queens, within shouting distance of her take-charge mom, her retired pop, and her sisters Zinnie, a cop, and Carmela, a sarcastic part-time beauty writer. Claire and her chatty clan have barely begun turning the house into a B&B when flowers arrive mysteriously, her Indian neighbor Lakshmi explains how to get access to one of the house’s many secret passageways, and an arsonist has a go at Claire, necessitating her rescue by hunky fireman Enoch O’Rourke. There’s another fire, an orphaned brute of a dog that Claire adopts, and several paying customers for the B&B, including two elderly nudists and handsome Signore della Luna, who is trying to buy up all the local mansions, raze them, and make his fortune in condo development. Zinnie falls in love. Ditto Carmela. Even young Anthony. But Enoch will have to rescue Claire one more time before his proposal is accepted. Squeezed in between the schmaltzy interludes are one arsonist’s suicide and the other’s apprehension by the feds.

Lots of family bickering around the extended dinner table, adolescent temper tantrums, and divorced-wives’ angst—but not much mystery.