Dutton Books / Penguin Putnam
Date: June 26, 2003
it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Notes: Sarah Strohmeyer is the author of Bubbles Unbound
and Bubbles In Trouble.
Kristin Johnson's second book,
Christmas Cookies Are For Giving, co-written with Mimi
Cummins, will be released September 2003. Her third book,
Ordinary Miracles: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and
Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin,
M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.
don't have to know Pennsylvanians to love the "Polish-Lithuanian
Barbie" hairdresser/reporter/detective/single mom Ms. Bubbles
Yablonsky, but it helps. Richard North Patterson's The Dark Lady
covered the soulful gritty intrigue of Steelton, Pennsylvania. Sarah
Strohmeyer's comic mystery introduces us to Slagville and Lehigh,
to the coal miners, the hairdressers, the old Nag 'n Feed matrons,
the conspiracy theorists, the comfort food (hoagies and Entenmann's
rule), the batty academics, the small-town-girl makes good reporters,
the small-town police chiefs, the union men, and the spoiled-brat
Kenneth Lay-type coal bosses. Spend a few days in places like Conneaut
Lake and Sharon, PA and you'll understand.
you could just read about the mystery misadventures of Bubbles:
her love triangle with hunky AP photographer Steve Stiletto and
dolled-up small-town-girl-makes-good reporter, Esmeralda Greene;
her struggles with brainy teenage daughter Jane, echoing her mom's
pattern by tangling with teenage slacker boyfriend G and Professor
Higgins-type Professor Tallow. There's her crazy-like-a-fox mom,
LuLu's good-natured interfering (after LuLu takes Bubbles to dish
and eat cake with wise woman Vilnia, she lambastes Bubbles for wasting
time not getting a major scoop) and the rivalry with the Slagville
Sirens; the deadly peashooter and mashed potatoes wielded by conspiracy
theorist and LuLu Yablonsky pal Genevieve. Then there's Bubbles'
struggle to get her editor to take her seriously and her constant
threat of being fired; rescuing her cousin, Roxanne's daffy inventor/mapmaker
husband, Stinky Koolball from certain death and hiding him from
the police; not to mention, solving murder and mining corruption,
and, as an afterthought, escaping being blown up in a mine and trapped
in a burning church.
who only learned how to peroxide her hair and roll cigarettes in
high school, has the common-sense wisdom and love of fashion of
Princess Diana, enshrined forever in the hearts of the working-class
American woman, the muckraking of Michael Moore (except she's funnier
and dresses better), the proletariat loyalties, and the stubborn
determination and sense of right and wrong that crack the case.
The only unbelievable note is Steve Stiletto's vow of chastity.
You have as much chance of resisting the ebullient Bubbles as she
has of giving up hoagies.