Poisoned Pen, Oct 2004, 24.95, 326 pp.
As she returns from London to San Francisco, Charley Van Leeuwen wonders how her friends will react to the hunk sharing the first class row with her as everyone knows Charley as the “most romantically challenged woman in the Western hemisphere”. Charley is bringing with her a husband, Jack Fairfax, whom she met six weeks ago.
Jack and Charley stay at the Mark Hopkins, but when she goes to turn on the water in the bathtub, she finds a corpse there. SFPD Inspector Yahata leads the investigation, but Charley asks all the questions. The honeymooners go to another room, but Charley's ensemble of friends arrives to interrupt.
Converting from single life to married becomes more chaotic as Charley is in the middle of a tangle involving a ransom and bullets aimed at her and Jack. Charley takes charge of insuring he, Uncle Harry, other family members, and her friends are safe from kooks, killers and kidnappers while also trying to keep her not for profit repertory theater from bankruptcy.
SPEAK NOW is a fabulous screwball mystery that is reminiscent of the zany 1930s Bob Hope movies. The story line is action-packed but with a tongue in cheek manner as Jack comes across as James Bond but “protected” by his theatrical spouse. While Jack and Charley adapt to marital bliss, the ensemble (friends and foes) interrupt their romantic moments.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner