Monday, October 26, 2009

Hitting the High Note by Nan D. Arnold

A novel of women’s fiction
Nan D. Arnold
By Champagne Books
Details at

We all know Maggie Duncan. She’s the woman in the grocery isle who could be our next door neighbor. The one who made bad choices. Staring the big five oh in the face, she takes stock. Having married unwisely and eschewed children, she now finds herself widowed and unattached. She is gaining weight everywhere but where she could use some fat-in the heels of her feet.

Looking for a spark, she finds one in the form of a blue knit dress promising to remain wrinkle free no matter what. Maggie thinks that would make a good article for a travel magazine and gives the premise a real workout once she meets an AWOL opera star by chance in a convenience store.

Lorenzo Pazzazzi, an aging baritone nursing a bruised ego following bad reviews, poses as a tourist called “Stavros”. He sees instantly that Maggie is pedaling along life’s highway without amoré; so, he commences to romance her as only The Great Pazzazzi can. He invites her to his place for a glass of wine but his brother, in drag to foil paparazzi, shows up unexpectedly at the front door. Fearful Maggie may learn who he really is, Lorenzo shoos her out his back door. Trouble is, wine-befuddled Maggie forgets her purse-the one holding a favorite photo of her deceased mother. She rounds the building to collect her purse, and what’s left of her pride, but Stavros is no where to be found. Instead, Maggie is greeted by an inhospitable Amazon who gives her the bum’s rush. Miffed, Maggie decides to involve cops. Detective Bruce Herring enters the picture and there’s an immediate attraction between he and Maggie.

Soon, Lorenzo’s shenanigans not only involve Bruce Herring but also The Green Socks Gang, wacko pie-chucking environmentalists, when the singer pretends to be a member of the group.

The Green Socks Gang is harmless unless you’re befouling the oceans, ripping out trees, or reneging on political promises germane to the environment. The worst punishment they administer is lemon meringue pie in the kisser. However, when the gang learns Lorenzo sometimes poses as a member, they’re displeased. They decide to kidnap this poseur to their cause and teach him a lesson about honesty.

Lorenzo, unaware he’s actually being stalked by the gang, pretends to Maggie he’s not really a member of the Green Socks Gang, but their potential kidnap victim targeted for ransom and he needs her help because he can’t involve the cops. He hopes this ploy will engender sympathy, thus speeding their way along to l’amour.

Maggie remembers Bruce Herring wore green socks when first they met, with black pants. The fashion faux pas was, he said, due to an affliction: color blindness. Perhaps, or is he, too, a Green Sockser? No, he’s really a cop, and one of a disparate cast trying to lure bad boy baritone Lorenzo back to Italy before he garners any negative press.

Along the way, the attraction between Maggie and Bruce grows. Then she’s dragged into the fray between Lorenzo and The Green Socks Gang while trying to reclaim her purse and that precious photo. Who teaches her to hit the high notes of life’s song, the sexy singer or the rock solid cop?

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