Berkley, Jul 2001, 21.95, 272 pp.
No one could ever have as lousy a day as art teacher Maggie Keane is having unless they just dropped dead or were run over by a semi. She burned her toast twice, tripped over a lamp stubbing her toe and breaking half the nail, and her toilet is backed up nothing seems to be wrong with the indoor pipes. The capable plumber checks the septic tank only to find someone having a worse day than Maggie as her next door neighbor Elizabeth Boyer lies dead there.
The police grill Maggie whose snappy retorts only anger the law enforcement officials. That changes when the brass assigns homicide detective Villari to head the investigation forcing Maggie to cooperate a little more. To her shock, Maggie learns that Elizabeth named her the fiduciary of her ten million-dollar estate. This makes the deceased's adult grandchildren angry since they will have to ask Maggie for money from the estate. Other events added to what is already known makes Maggie a prime, viable suspect who conducts her own inquiries to prove her innocence.
This a brilliant debut mystery centering on a dark plot. The repartee between the heroine and the rest of the cast is humorous while allowing the audience to further focus on Maggie's character. Readers will welcome Nageeba Davis to the real world where the road rules are that she must return with a second tale starring the magnificently mouthy Maggie.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner