Viking, Jun 2002, 23.95, 248 pp.
Ellie Haskell proudly shows her husband Ben his redecorated home office. However instead of the praise she expected from her spouse, he is irate as he cuts into her for destroying his space. A stunned Ellie retreats from Merlin's Court to visit their cleaning lady Roxie Malloy at her new job as right hand man for private investigator Mr. Jugg.
Jugg is out of town when Lady Krumley arrives seeking help. Roxie misleads the client by saying she works for both Mr. Jugg and Mrs. Haskell, which leads to Lady Krumley to conclude that her two employers are partners. Lady Krumley explains that forty years ago she fired a pregnant maid for stealing jewelry. About a year after that, the maid died leaving a child Ernestine behind. Lady Krumley found proof that the accused was innocent, but also cursed her employer's family. Members are dying and Lady Krumley believes only Ernestine can lift the affliction. She wants the two sleuths to find the girl. Seeing this as a simple diversion, Ellie agrees to help Roxie, not knowing what she is getting into by doing so.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNESTINE is an amusing amateur sleuth tale that readers will enjoy because of the antics of the delightful detective duet as Ellie plays a straight man to the wild and wacky Roxie. The cast augments the understanding of the dynamic duo so that readers comprehend their motives. Dorothy Cannell, known for her cozies, writes a lighthearted romp that is for those readers who enjoy an insouciant investigative novel starring two delightful incompetents.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner