Cover image for I.O.U.
Pickard, Nancy.
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Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Books, [1991]

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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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It was a foggy day on her mother's funeral, and Jenny's pain and confusion was tremendous. Her mother had died of pneumonia after years in the Hampshire Psychiatric Hospital. As friends and family paid their condolences, Jenny began to wonder just what was really wrong with her mother. And how was it connected to the bankruptcy of the family business? When Jenny tries to find out, she is met with silence. Then someone shuts the garage door when exhausted Jenny falls asleep with the car's motor running

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Almost every endearing aspect of the previous Jenny Cain mysteries has been either ruthlessly customized or else outright jettisoned in this brave and downright uneasy series detour. The quasi-cozy style, the liberal helping of cute spousal patter (between Jenny and her cop hubby, Geof), and the academic background all fall by the wayside here as Pickard explores Cain history--Jenny's mother's protracted mental illness and death, her Dad's apathetic failure with the family clan dynasty, his affair, and his treatment of a shy, adoring woman beset by post-partum demons. At Mom's funeral, Jenny becomes seriously unhinged, her condition not helped by a firm push applied to her back as the coffin is lowered and cryptic messages found on the visitor's book. The trail leads Cain backwards, through industrial espionage in the seafood line to a succession of tight-lipped encounters with doctors, priests, and Dad's ditzy new wife. Pickard wades through these swamplike emotional backwaters with surefooted precision, her scenes of distress or revelation never sinking in melodrama, and the multiple shocks along the way handled with remarkable elan. Pickard may lose a few fans here--adoring readers tend to dislike change--but this heretofore winning series loses nothing by taking a turn into the darker alleyways of the soul. ~--Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

The layered plot of the latest in the excellent Jenny Cain series ( Say No to Murder ) finds the Port Frederick, Mass., sleuth probing the cause of her recently deceased mother's insanity. Cain discovers that her mother's mental collapse many years before coincided with the bankruptcy of the family business. The closing of Cain Clams created considerable unemployment locally and countless enemies for the Cains--one such foe may now be trying to prevent the amateur detective from delving further into her family's past and the town's secrets. As she tracks down public mysteries, Cain unearths painful personal issues; an attempt on her life, construed as an effort at suicide, forces her to deal with the legacy of her mother's madness. Pickard masterfully resolves both plot lines in this affecting, provocative novel centering around the mystery at the heart of mother-daughter relationships. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-- A contemporary, entertaining mystery that begins at the funeral of Jenny's mother, who had been hospitalized for mental illness many years before. An overheard whisper of ``I'm sorry, it was an accident,'' starts Jenny wondering about her father's loss of the family business, his affair with her stepmother, the cause of her mother's illness, and whether it can be inherited. Her sleuthing unravels the answers to these and many more questions in this fast-paced novel, and she reacts believably to the unusual combination of events in her life. Although there are more situations in this mystery/soap opera than would likely happen in real life to any one person, they will grab readers' interest and hold it until every loose end is clarified and resolved. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.