St. Martin's, July 2002, 21.95, 226 pp.
She's a full figured woman who is comfortable in her own skin, not caring that many people are prejudiced about her size. She works for Mrs. Madrone, a very wealthy woman who lives in San Francisco and gives away sizable sums to charities and organizations that apply to her foundation for a grant. Josephine Fuller, Jo to her friends, is the person who investigates the requesting organization and then reports her findings to Mrs. Madrone.
Jo's latest assignment is the Friend in Need Centers, an organization that councils pregnant women but in reality is a front for the pro-life radicals. At the same time she's performing her duties, she is looking for evidence for clearing her friend Thelma of a murder charge. Somebody doesn't like what Jo is doing because she is shot at twice and comes dangerously close to dying a third time.
The protagonist of this novel is a very likable woman who gains reader empathy but not their sympathy because she doesn't need it. She believes she's attractive and appealing and the audience accepts her on her own terms. The story line is fast paced and the reader never knows who the killer is until the author reveals it in an exciting and believable climax. A TON OF TROUBLE is a ton of fun in this amateur sleuth mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner