JANE DARROWFIELD, PROFESSIONAL BUSYBODY
By Barbara Ross
It’s never too late to start a new career, as the recently retired Jane Darrowfield finds out in the most unexpected way. All she wanted to do was help a friend whose daughter had recently become engaged to a young man who was, in the mother’s words, “dead behind the eyes.” Jane agrees to do a little checking, and discovers that the man has two other fiancées and, as everybody knows, three’s a crowd. Word spreads in Jane’s hometown of West Cambridge, that she’s the person to contact to fix “situations.” And, presto, Jane’s in the busybody business.
Things change when Paul Peavey, from the local residence for active seniors, wants to pay her to fix “the community’s social dynamics.” Intrigued, Jane agrees to move into the senior home “undercover” for a short time to observe the situation and make possible suggestions.
As Jane quickly discovers, the mature set can be as immature as high schoolers. There are a variety of cliques: the popular kids, the leather jacket bikers, and the artists, just to name a few. And they all dislike each other intensely.
Bill Finnerty, the ringleader of the popular kids, rules the golf course. The leather-jacketed Mike Witkowski runs the game room and hates Bill’s guts. When a food fight erupts between the two men during Jane’s first lunch there, Jane decides that what these people really need is a full-time babysitter. But she resolves to give the place a chance, reminding herself that she’s being paid for the first time ever to help diffuse a situation. She’s feeling confident in her prowess until the first dead body is found on the golf course.
This is the start of what I hope will become another long-running series by Barbara Ross, who also pens the terrific Maine Clambake mysteries. I loved it!