An unusual, although not particularly exciting, blend of female self-discovery and modern-day pulp romance. This first novel centers around Estelle Wolfe, a rich widow in her early 60s who loved her husband, Harry, so much that she tape- recorded his snoring so she could listen to it when he was away. He took mistresses, and she took to drink; when he died, she took to the role of rich widow, caring for stray dogs, volunteering at a hospital, and pampering everyone from her caretakers to godchildren. Estelle has two daughters. Lisanne, determined never to care for anyone the way her mother cared for her father, is a wanderer who lives out of a suitcase, takes casual lovers, and visits Mom once a year. Ellen, by contrast, follows in Estelle's footsteps, fawning over the teardrop that slides ``glistening'' from the ``left nostril'' of her pompous, homophobic, chauvinistic husband and believing that it's her job to take care of everyone. Ellen and her spouse are concerned about Dr. Count Francesco von Cockleburg, who arrives from Paris claiming to be an old friend of Harry's and begins spending all his time with the enamored Estelle; they're sure he's a fake interested only in pilfering money. Lisanne thinks he's too unconvincing to be a con man and wants her mother to be happy. During a summer in the country, the daughters try to support and protect Estelle, and in the meantime all the women learn a few things about themselves. Ellen sees that she's married to a schmuck. Lisanne falls into a relationship with the handsome, sensitive caretaker. And Estelle, though she may be too old to really change, does eventually discover the truth about Cockleburg, which alters her life. Little good, surprising, or new. Thoroughly resistible.