Cover image for Bell, book, and scandal : a Jane Jeffry mystery
Title:
Bell, book, and scandal : a Jane Jeffry mystery
Author:
Churchill, Jill, 1943-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
213 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780060097974
Format :
Book

Available:*

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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

You can't judge a book by its cover. To look at her, one would never think suburbanite homemaker Jane Jeffry would be interested in murder and mayhem. But after all the corpses she's come across -- and killers she's unmasked -- she's practically an expert on the subject. Which is why, with best buddy Shelley Nowack in tow, Jane's booking down to a nearby mystery writers' convention to mingle with the brightest lights of literary crime . . . and maybe drum up some interest in her own recently completed manuscript.

They're all there: editors, agents, publishing bigwigs, and famous authors like Jane and Shelley's personal fave, Felicity Roane. Even Jane's longtime honey, Detective Mel VanDyne, is a scheduled guest speaker. Of course there are bound to be some bad apples in the bunch: macho-malicious literary critic-cum-snake Zac Zebra, for example, and loudmouth Vernetta Strausmann, who self-published her despicable whodunit and successfully hawked it on the Internet.

However, what would a mystery convention be without a mystery? So one is graciously supplied when a famous ego-squashing editor keels over at the speaker's podium, undone by an anonymous poisoner. And when a much-hated book-bashing journalist is himself bashed quite nastily in the parking lot, it seems fairly certain that at least one real-life murderer is stalking the proceedings. But who is he/she/them? The dirt-dishing, pseudonymous Internet gossip monger "Ms. Mystery," who's lurking around there somewhere? The local bookseller who dearly loves "Modern Golden Age" women writers? The avid reader who seems to know a bit too much about the personal lives of the famous attendees?

Jane and Shelley are on the case, ready to snoop, eavesdrop, and gossip their way to a solution. But the killer they seek is no open book . . . and may turn out to be harder -- and deadlier -- to read than they initially imagined.


Author Notes

Jill Churchill (born Janice Young Brooks) on January 11, 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri. She earned a degree in education from the University of Kansas in 1965 before teaching elementary school. Between 1978 and 1992, she was book reviewer for the Kansas City Star. She published several historical novels under her real name before introducing a new series in 1989. This mystery series follows Jane Jeffry, a widow with three children in Chicago. With her neighbor and best friend, she gets involved in murder cases. The novel titles are puns on literary works and reflect Jeffry's cozy domestic life which she leads between crime-solving episodes.

Churchill is the winner of the Agatha and Macavity Awards for her first Jane Jeffrey novel and was featured in Great Women Mystery Writers in 2007.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like the previous entry in the series, The House of the Seven Mabels, Jill Churchill's Bell, Book, and Scandal: A Jane Jeffry Mystery, in which would-be author Jane and pal Shelley Nowack find trouble at a mystery writers' conference, offers only routine sleuthing. Churchill's newer Grace and Favor series (Love for Sale, etc.) has a more interesting setting and fresher characters. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Part-time sleuth Jane Jeffry and friend Sheeley in this tale by Churchill (Much Ado About Nothing) attend a local mystery writers' convention, only to become involved in another murder mystery. After someone poisons a famous editor and attacks a renowned reviewer, Jane and Shelley take the offensive. Lightweight and fun for cozy fans. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Bell, Book, and Scandal A Jane Jeffry Mystery Chapter One On a surprisingly mild day late in February, Jane sat out on her kitchen porch waiting for her next-door neighbor and best friend Shelley Nowack to come home. When Shelley's minivan turned into the Nowacks' driveway at about fifty miles per hour and screamed to a violent halt, Jane strolled over. "Look what I got in today's mail," Jane said, shoving a brochure though the window of the minivan. "Help me unload the groceries first. I have a car that's full of stuff that needs to go in the freezer," Shelley said, handing the brochure back without looking at it. When the food was stashed away, they sat down at Shelley's kitchen table with the brochure. "A mystery conference right here in town. Cool. Are you going?" "I want to," Jane said. "The book I'm writing isn't exactly a mystery, but I think all good novels are mysteries. At least, they need the elements of secrets that need to be unraveled, even if there isn't a crime. Will she give the guy a second chance to straighten up his act or won't she? Is there a chance he'll be named in his rich grandfather's will? Will the child recover?" "I never thought about it that way. You're right," Shelley agreed. "And the conference is at that fabulous hotel near that new mall we've never been to." "I wasn't planning to stay at the hotel," Jane said. "What's the point when it's so close to home?" "There are two points, Jane. For one thing, you learn more from people if you're staying at the hotel at conferences. Other attendees usually have drinks at the bar at night, and that's when they reveal a lot more inside poop to friends and eavesdroppers. "The other point," Shelley went on, "is that Paul has invested in this hotel and, as such, always has a suite on hold for his use. We could stay in it for free." Jane had often wondered just how rich the Nowacks were, but hadn't asked and never would ask Shelley. Paul's investment must have been a substantial one, however, to rate a full-time suite. But the Nowacks lived almost as modestly as Jane did. Their house was the same size as Jane's. Their children went to the same public schools as Jane's did. Their wallpaper and carpets were only slightly more expensive than Jane's, in spite of the Nowacks' obviously being far more affluent. Shelley's husband owned an enormous chain of Greek fast-food restaurants. "We? Would you really be interested in going with me?" "Of course I would. I like knowing the inside poop about nearly any business. I don't think I'd go to an accountants' conference, but this one would be interesting." Looking over the brochure, she added, "I see by the schedule that there are usually two or even three tracks of speeches. You could go to one and I'd go to another and take notes for you. And late April is such a good time for a perk." "I'll sign us both up," Jane said. "This will be really fun, I hope. Some of my favorite mystery writers are on the list of attendees. I'd love to meet them or least see and hear them in person." "Let me jot the date down and tell Paul we need the suite that weekend if it's not already booked." Three days later, Detective Mel VanDyne, Jane's long-time lover, dropped in after dinner and said, "I have a day off tomorrow. I've got more laundry than most armies accumulate in a week, the floors are dirty, and I'm buried in paperwork, most of which needs to be thrown away. Any way you could help me out?" "Sure. Have you had dinner? There's leftover pot roast, gravy, and peas." "Yes, please," he said pathetically. "All I had in the fridge was disgusting cottage cheese." When he'd finished the leftovers, Jane said, "I have something interesting to tell you ... " "Could it wait until tomorrow? I have to go home and get a start so you won't know how sloppy my apartment really is." "It'll hold," Jane said. When she arrived the next morning, the cottage cheese was gone. Most of the paperwork was gone and Mel had started the first load of laundry. Jane took charge. "Get me the vacuum and the attachments." "Attachments?" "All those little gadgets that came with it. You start cleaning from the top down. There are cobwebs on the ceiling. There's a tube that sucks them up, and the same tube gets the dust off the blinds. Then you do the carpet. I'll start in the front bedroom. You finish throwing trash away and put your first load of washing in the dryer." It took three hours before almost everything was clean. When Mel started making the bed, Jane realized he didn't even know the right way to tuck the top sheet in tightly at the bottom. "Mel, stop. Don't you know how to do a nurse's corner? Watch this and do the other corner like I do this one." He was surprised. "My mother failed to teach me that. In fact, I don't know if she knew this. She always had a maid to do things like this." Jane sat down on the bed when they were finished. "Don't you want to hear my good news?" "I'd rather we made good use of this bed first." Jane smiled, slipping off her shoes while saying "Me, too." Later, while Mel went for carryout Chinese for their lunch, Jane took a look in the fridge and decided he'd have to deal with it himself. But she'd tell him all about the writers' conference over the egg drop soup ... Bell, Book, and Scandal A Jane Jeffry Mystery . Copyright © by Jill Churchill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Bell, Book, and Scandal by Jill Churchill All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.