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THE TROUBLE WITH HARRIET: An Ellie Haskell Mystery
By Dorothy Cannell

Penguin Books, 1999, (278 pages) pbk.
Reissued June, 2000

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

Ellie Haskell was seventeen when her mother died in a tragic accident. Her father, presumably distraught, stole Ellie's bicycle and all the loose change and took off for parts unknown. For many years her only contact with him was the occasional postcard from some exotic locale. When a gypsy told Ellie he might just be coming back into her life soon, and warned her any traveling would be dangerous, Ellie laughed it off. The next day, after the children had been dropped off at Grandma's and the luggage was all packed for a much-needed trip to France with her husband, guess who showed up?

Right the first time. Not only did he barge right into her life again, he brought a friend, or at least her earthly remains in an ugly clay pot. It seems he had fallen in love with the charming and mysterious Harriet while in Germany. She was apparently recovering from a bad illness, but made him promise that if anything happened to her he would return her ashes to her cousins in England. Brokenhearted, he brought her home.

Through a series of hilarious mishaps and happenstance, Harriet eludes her cousins, a trio of black-haired folk resembling Russian nesting dolls, through most of the book. An elderly clergyman whose mind is focused firmly on ancient history, a kleptomaniac aunt, the lady of the manor and her decrepit husband, and other assorted characters all add to the mayhem, and fun, of the story.

This is a great book for all Cannell and cozy fans. Good clean fun and not much blood.

Other titles in this series that have been reviewed include: BRIDESMAIDS REVISITED.

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