Sunday, September 6, 2009

bubbles betrothed

BUBBLES BETROTHEDSarah StrohmeyerSignetMysteryISBN: 0451412168
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New journalist Bubbles Yablonsky, hobbling around in her new $30 suit, is arrested for carrying a lethal weapon when she tries to cut open her back skirt flap in the courtroom. In their shared jail cell, Popeye, the homeless mentally ill woman on trial for murder, confides in Bubbles, who diligently writes down the interview in her notebook. Popeye claims she didn't kill the victim and that everyone, including her lawyer, is against her. She also says that she was in the restroom when the murder happened and that she heard voices. Popeye's attempt to assist the victim led directly to her arrest.Popeye's story is convincing to Bubbles. But immediately afterward, Popeye falls down and dies. Blood tests show that she took way too much of her prescription drugs. Evidently Popeye committed suicide. Or did she?Bubbles's belief that Popeye is innocent is reinforced when Popeye's attorneys threaten her to get the interview notes. Will Bubbles go back to jail for contempt? More bad news comes Bubbles's way when she hears that her lover, Steve Stiletto, went straight from her arms to New York and is now engaged!Bubbles learns that Karol Smolak, part of the Polish Mafia and known to have a major anger management issue, may be linked to Popeye's case. In addition, a certain doctor has gone missing while some eye-popping photos of the murder victim appear in Bubbles's car. Who left the photos for her? Is the doctor fleeing, kidnapped, or dead?Bubbles is stressed out. All she wants is a hot bath and a Sara Lee Devil's Food Cake (defrosted or not) and gallons of root beer. However, she soldiers on with her investigation, along with her photographer sidekick Lorena. Lorena claims a "character flaw" that necessitates anger management classes and leads her to have just a wee shoplifting tendency.Events take an ominous turn when Bubbles gets a phone call instructing her to quit her investigation if she wants her daughter, Jane, to remain out of danger. Although terrified, Bubbles continues to uncover clues. In one brief morning, she covers the "miraculous vision" sighting of Madonna (the rock star) on a Chevy Impala, is kidnapped by mobsters, and discovers that Stiletto is actually fake-engaged to Bubbles in an attempt to delay a job assignment overseas.This is a fast-paced mystery with lots of plot twists and entertaining one-liners, and enough romance to intrigue without overwhelming the story. Reading BUBBLES BETROTHED is a pure frothy pleasure, akin to going on vacation with your funniest, slightly raunchy best friend. You never quite know where she's going to lead you, but it's a wild and hilarious trip nonetheless. --- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (

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