Out On A Limb Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Out On A Limb

St. Martin's Nov 2002, 23.95, 272 pp.
ISBN 0312266804

Farberville, Arkansas is usually a quiet little town but every once in a while trouble seems to erupt and everyone just knows crime solver Claire Malloy will be in the middle of it. To make way for more housing, a group of trees have to be cut down but environmentalist Miss Emily Parchester plans a protest by living in a tree until she wins her point. Claire, who aided and abetted the elderly woman before with a false murder charge, tries to talk some sense into her but fails in the face of the Emily's determination.
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When she returns home, Claire finds her sixteen-year-old daughter nearly hysterical. A newborn baby only four weeks old has been put on Claire's doorstep. Clair delivered the baby whose the teenage mother lived in the streets but she has no idea who she was. Anthony Armstrong, the developer who wants to cut the trees down, is murdered and his daughter, arrested for the crime. Claire recognizes her as the baby's mother and enlists her friends into helping her prove the young mother is innocent.

OUT ON A LAMB is an entertaining and poignant cosy that intertwines several social issues into the main story line. Joan Hess is a witty writer who uses subtle touches of humor to diffuse the tension when it reaches too high a level. The author is an expert at characterizations and readers are pulled into the plot because they want to know what the characters will do next especially since they are so unpredictable.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Out On A Limb

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   minority/women/gay rights Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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