Cover image for Speak now
Speak now
Dumas, Margaret.
Personal Author:
First U. S. edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
318 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



2003 - CWA Debut Dagger, Highly Commended

Charley Van Leeuwen can tell by a man's kiss whether he's been drinking Taittinger or Veuve Clicquot. Not that she kisses many men, a fact her friends deplore. So imagine their surprise when she came home to San Francisco with a new husband. Jack Fairfax is the definition of tall, dark, and handsome. But is he a mild-mannered meteorologist as he claims?

Sometime between finding a dead body in her bathtub, tagging along on a ransom drop, and getting rescued by her husband in a hail of bullets, Charley begins to suspect there's more to Jack's past than he's willing - or able - to admit.

So, here's Charley, used to her money as a cushion, forced to protect her family and friends, and rushed to rescue her nonprofit repertory theater from artistic and financial ruin. If that means dealing with kidnappings, murders, bitter ex-boyfriends, out-of-control relatives, and vicious former spies - all while staging a play - well, nobody ever said marriage would be easy....

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Charley Van Leeuwen returns to San Francisco after spending a year working with a London theater company. Her new husband, Jack Fairfax, accompanies her. The marriage is a surprise to her family and friends, but it's nothing compared to finding a dead body in the bathtub of the couple's suite at the Mark Hopkins. The ensuing police investigation and the private detectives that Charley's Uncle Harry employs to check on Jack's background raise more questions. Is Jack really a meteorologist? What was he doing as a naval officer stationed in the Middle East? Comic cozy meets crazed spy thriller in this debut novel short-listed for Britain's 2003 Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award. The San Francisco setting is appealing, and the amusing cast of characters will have readers looking forward to subsequent adventures. --Barbara Bibel Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Short-listed for Britain's C.W.A. 2003 Debut Dagger Award, Dumas's sparkling debut should appeal to both cozy and chick-lit fans. Thirty-four-year-old Charley Van Leeuwen, who runs her own "non-profit rep company in San Francisco," has married Jack Fairfax, a dashing former U.S. Navy meteorologist (who reminds her of "Roman Holiday Gregory Peck"), six weeks after meeting him in London. Their honeymoon comes to an abrupt halt when they discover a dead body in their bathtub at San Francisco's posh Mark Hopkins Hotel. Charley must solve the mystery (which somehow involves Jack) and direct a new play while getting kidnapped and held at gunpoint along the way. Stock characters abound: the queeny, bisexual artistic director of her theater; the no-nonsense, sometimes tactless financial manager; the uptight, shy women's studies professor. At times Charley comes across as little more than a collection of references to designer labels and expensive champagne, but her engaging voice ("It would be nice if I could say I look like Aubrey Hepburn, but I'm not delusional") will keep readers turning the pages. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Blurbs from Donna Andrews and Penny Warner will alert their fans to this fresh voice. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Carley Van Leeuwen seems to have married the perfect, mild-mannered meteorologist-until she finds a dead body in her bathtub. Things only go downhill from there. This first novel was shortlisted (and highly commended) for the 2003 CWA Debut Dagger Award. Dumas lives in the Bay Area. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Charley Van Leeuwen is a 30-something woman of considerable financial means who enjoys independence and life's finer things. Narrating the story in a wryly humorous voice, she explains that though her money cushions her from most of life's bumps, she does work hard, managing (and largely financing) an independent repertory theater company in San Francisco. A year before she had sold her flat, left her beloved Rep in the hands of associates, and gone to England to study theater. While away, with uncharacteristic impulsiveness, she acquired a husband after knowing him only six weeks. Jack is a handsome meteorologist just retiring from the U.S. Navy (but why was he stationed in the desert?) and, as the story begins, she is bringing him home with her. They plan to stay in a luxurious hotel until they can find a place to live, but as soon as they get there, a dead body turns up in the bathtub. As Charley struggles to keep her unstable company together, put on a new show, dodge embarrassing questions from friends and family members about her sudden marriage and mysterious husband, and deal with the occasional kidnapping, she tries to figure out what's going on. With its San Francisco setting; theatrical background; hint of espionage; a witty, sophisticated hero and heroine who thoroughly enjoy one another's company; and brisk pace, this humorous if unlikely tale will entertain readers who like a light mystery with an urban attitude.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.