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Femmes Fatal


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About the Author

Dorothy Cannell was born in London, England, and now lives in Belfast, Maine. She writes mysteries featuring Ellie Haskell, interior decorator, and Ben Haskell, writer and chef, and Hyacinth and Primrose Tramwell, a pair of dotty sisters and owners of the Flowers Detection Agency.


Feisty mother of twins, Ellie Haskell (last seen in The Widows Club ) sets about putting some oomph back into her marriage in this charming and funny modern British mystery. In the village of Chitterton Fells, Ellie and her charwoman, Mrs. Malloy, join Fully Female, an organization whose goal is to ``enable every woman to fulfill her physical, emotional and sexual potential.'' Ellie wants to regain the erotic side of her marriage to super chef Ben, while Mrs. M. hopes to win the attentions of funeral director Walter Fisher. After they join the group, however, the village is shaken by a number of suspicious deaths, beginning with that of a woman who is electrocuted in her bath. Undeterred, Ellie attempts to enliven her marriage by dressing up as a Viking maiden, but before she can enact a fantasy evening with Ben, Jacqueline Diamond calls her to come over, as her husband has fallen to his death in their bedroom. As victims drop, it looks as if love itself can kill. Ellie, though, suspects some calculated human intervention, and sets out--with Mrs. M.'s help--to find the culprit. Cannell's wicked sense of humor and sprightly style move the story briskly to its somewhat contrived conclusion. (Sept.)

With little twins and a cat hogging most of her time, winsome heroine Ellie Haskell ( Mum's the Word , Bantam, 1990) secretly joins a woman's group designed to rejuvenate relationships. Ellie's breathless fascination with romantic possibilities involving her gorgeous husband provides much of the humor here and lightens the horror of murder and attempted murder that plague the group. Ellie somehow manages to figure out what's happening despite the intervention of a buxom housekeeper, a nutty cousin, a plain-Jane organist, and her husband's good intentions. A pleasant romp.

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