THE PUMPKIN-SHELL WIFE by Susanna Hofmann McShea


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 The four sprightly geriatrics from Hometown Heroes (1990) return--a little tetchier and less engaging--to wonder why staid Raven's Wing, Connecticut, matron Esther Maine died in a sleazy New York City hot-sheets hotel, tarted up like a whore and leaving behind some gushy romantic poetry. As they track her last moments, the game snoopers discover that: Esther's psychiatrist had been disbarred in California; her brother-in-law rescued her from a shoplifting charge; a peeping Tom across the way was obsessed with her; her mother and sister hated her; her father, who doted on her (and more), was murdered; and her husband was not the father of her children--any of them. Eventually, the elderly Forrest, Irene, Trevor, and Mildred, employing hypnosis, prove who killed Esther, but then the killer is killed by the one who was hypnotized, who now remembers all.... Too many eyewitnesses to Esther's debauchery die; too many husbands can't keep their hands to themselves; and there are far too many arguments and crotchety pronouncements among the oldsters, who seem to have misplaced most of their charm and manners.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-07768-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992