In Four to Score, Janet Evanovich has written her wackiest book among the first four. Some of the highlights include a coded set of mystery clues followed by a close encounter ending, a transvestite band, a jealous lover, a woman scorned, progress in the budding Morelli-Plum relationship, and torture. And those are just some of the complications. Each amazing complication is done with the maximum humor imaginable!
The Sally Sweet character is probably her most memorable character. Old nemesis Joyce Barnhardt does favors for Cousin Vinny and gets to compete with Stephanie Plum for a job bringing in Maxine Nowicki. As usual, Stephanie can find Maxine, but has a hard time apprehending her. In the meantime, someone's making threats, pouring gasoline over her car, and firebombing wherever she lives. The people she contacts to find Maxine keep turning up with strange wounds, and are very silent about Maxine's whereabouts. She seems to hit cold trail after cold trail.
You should be able to solve the mystery about half way through. This was one of Evanovich's more transparent efforts. But the mystery is really beside the point. To focus on that would be like studying history instead of partying during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The story of Stephanie Plum and her relationship to the other characters are where you'll find the attraction in this book.
The scenes, the set-ups, and the dialogue are marvelous. If you have a friend who is also reading the series, you'll be trading lines before you're done with this book.
After you have read and enjoyed this book, consider how little straight comedy is written now in fiction form. Almost all of it is in the context of crime and mystery novels. What does that say about our tastes and society's state? What would a non-bounty hunting, funny Stephanie Plum be like? I suspect she could be just as funny. In many ways, she is the Lucille Ball of the 1996-2004 period.
Overcome your stalled thinking about how much fun a book can be with this one!