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The author of Buster Midnight's Cafe (1990) spins a tale of pioneer justice and impenetrable loyalty among farmwives in Depression-era Kansas: a down-to-earth, genuine, and, alas, dull second novel. ""Persian pickle,"" the Kansas term for paisley, has lent its name to the decades-old Harveyville quilting club in recognition of founding member Ceres Root's old habit--parceling out bits of her favorite paisley fabric for use in other club members' quilts. Persian pickles, in fact, are a symbol of how intertwined the quilters' lives have become and are also about the most exotic thing these farmwives have seen--until the arrival of Rita Ritter, a pretty college girl married to farmer's son Tom Ritter. Gregarious young Queenie Bean rushes to welcome Rita into the club--and, despite the latter's city clothes, helplessness with a quilting needle, and lack of appreciation for the club's importance, the two women become friends. When Rita explains that she aspires to become a newspaper reporter, the befuddled club members follow Queenie's lead, gamely submitting to a story about the club in the local paper and not even complaining when Rita misspells their names. They prove less easygoing, however, when the body of club member Ella Crook's missing husband, Ben, is discovered buried in one of Ella's fields and Rita wants to find the murderer to advance her career. It takes many questions and much maneuvering for Rita to realize that these innocuous-seeming women may know more than they let on about Ben's death--and even then, she finds the wall of feminine loyalty unyielding. A milder version of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, with more predictable twists and less engaging eccentricities.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1429903368
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's