Poisoned Pen Press, August 2003, 24.95, 242 pp.
The year 1954 starts off well for Maggie and Bert Featherby and their adopted daughter Rosie. Sugar is off rationing so their neighborhood café in the Soho district of London is back in full operation. The local lothario Luigi has finally found a woman he likes who doesn't fall at his feet and Rosie's mother is in the hospital being treated for her alcoholic condition. Rosie thinks she knows who her father is and she is very happy especially when he takes an interest in her.
Rosie's world starts to get shaky when her school friend Jenny takes ill and doesn't seem to get better. Matters become frightening for her and Uncle Bert and Aunt Maggie when the Widow Ginger, an ex-GI who was involved during the war in the black market, gets out of prison and feels that his former friend and local mobster Maltese Joe owes him. He intends to collect and begins a reign of neighborhood terror that forces Rosie's adoptive parents, her biological father, and Maltese Joe to work together to put him out of commission any way they can.
In 1954, England is still recovering from the affects of WW II and though people are starting to look to the future, they can't forget the pain of the past. Rosie has an adult mind in an eight-year-old body so that even though the audience sees events from her perspective, it feels like the narrator is looking back at a certain time in her childhood, similar to The Wonder Years. THE WIDOW GINGER is a charming and beguiling work starring a support cast that is eccentric and refreshingly unique.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner