Out on a Limb
By Joan Hess
(Minotaur Books, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780312986322, 336pp.)
Publication Date: November 2003
List Price: $6.99*
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Faberville bookstore owner Claire Malloy is ruminating over the state of her love life when she gets disturbing news. Elderly Miss Emily Parchester is up a tree. Chained to an old oak, packing a thermos of tea and a gun, the retired schoolteacher is ready to go down with the ship, or rather the tree, before she'll let another historic piece of Farberville be bulldozed in the name of "progress," i.e., developer Anthony Armstrong's condominiums.
With Miss Parchester armed, and therefore dangerous, Claire fears this noble act will end tragically. Unfortunately, it does-when someone murders Armstrong. And suddenly Claire herself is out on a limb: a baby has been left on her doorstep, the child's teenage mom is suspect number one in Armstrong's death, and Claire needs to find the real killer fast. Especially when she discovers Miss Parchester knows more than she's willing to tell....
"Joan Hess is one of the best mystery writers in the world." -Elizabeth Peters, author of Lord of the Silent
"I love Joan Hess. She's hilarious, of course-one of the few writers who can crack me up both on the page and in person. If you've never spent time with Claire and her crew, I feel sorry for you. Stop reading this nonsense and hop to it. You'll see wit and humanity all wrapped up in a nifty murder mystery." -Harlan Coben, author of Tell No One