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Missing Marlene [Mass Market Paperback]

Evan Marshall
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 2000 Jane Stuart and Winky Mysteries
The first book in Evan Marshall's Jane Stuart and Winky series of cat-cozy mysteries featuring Jane Stuart, a widowed young mother and literary agent who has a knack for solving mysteries, and Winky, her tortoiseshell cat who has a nose for trouble.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Library Journal

A 19-year-old nanny's disappearance forces her employer, widowed literary agent Jane Stuart, to face up to their mutual dislike. Jane feels compelled to look for the girl and soon discovers her disreputable hangout, dangerous ex-boyfriend, and deceitful actions. Meanwhile, Jane's two-faced author-boyfriend, nine-year-old son, and "faithful" business partner contribute their own complications. Jane's na?vet? and guilt fuel plenty of haphazard and sometimes clumsily handled dashing around; a lightweight, marginal purchase.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A deep chasm seems to run through little Shady Hills, New Jersey. On one side live widowed literary agent Jane Stuart, her friends, her cat Winky, her son Nick, and Nick's nanny, Marlene Benson. The other side, which extends from the Roadside Tavern to the fleshpots of nearby Parsippany and far-off Manhattan, is peopled by strange denizens with names like Gil Dapero, who works in a sporting-goods warehouse, and Vernon List, who works in a hardware warehouse. One day, Marlene, instead of picking Nick up at school, crosses over to the other side of the chasm and disappears. Jane is worried and baffled; Marlene's mother back in Detroit is frantic; but Marlene's friends, from Helen Wichowski in Shady Hills to Zena Harmon in New York, seem strangely untroubled. Neglecting her unhappy clients and her up-and-coming assistant to make inquiries, Jane discovers that Marlene had been spending quite a bit of time on the other side of the chasmsome of it with such dangerous charmers as Gil and Vernonand that Jane's own side, the side of Jane's big client Roger Haines and her upscale neighbors Dr. Elliott and Audrey Fairchild, may not be so different after all. Everything is resolved in a finale equally surprising for its welcome ingenuity and its incongruous firepower. Marshall's refreshing debut has all the trappings of a cozy, right down to the detecting cat, but gets a PG-13 for sexual situations, language, pornography, and bimbos. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable debut! July 19 2000
By Brenda
Format:Mass Market Paperback
MISSING MARLENE introduces Jane Stuart, Nick, and Winky in their debut mystery. Jane is Nick's mother. She is also a literary agent. Winky is their feline cohort. Marlene is the nanny that Nick and Jane felt they could live without but hadn't expected it to happen so suddenly and suspiciously. Jane hired Marlene because she was the daughter of a friend, and when the nanny comes up missing, it's Jane who risks it all trying to find her.
What an impressive debut and cast of characters created by Evan Marshall. Through the mystery, we will meet those around Jane and her small family. Their stories are remarkably interwoven through the mystery without distracting from it. The plot is great, although one part of the storyline (the colorful part) has been touched on many times in other stories, the way Mr. Marshall uses it is just as attention-grabbing. Through the mystery and mayhem, Jane leads her readers to and fro to meet some interesting and unsavory characters and puts herself in some interesting situations. The rough and tumble showdown will leave you hanging until the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut mystery April 2 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
In Shady Hills, New Jersey, the school secretary calls literary agent Jane Stuart to pick up her son Nick when his nanny Marlene Benson failed to do so. After they get home, Jane calls her best friend Ivy, who happens to be Marlene's mother, to complain about her daughter.
Jane wonders how her beloved, deceased spouse would handle rejecting a work by one of her top writer's, Roger Haines. She tries to persuade Roger to rewrite the novel, but the egotistical author refuses. Instead he demands she sells his work. Before she can draw a conclusion on what to do next, Jane, with the help of Nick's cat Winky, looks into the disappearance of the MISSING MARLENE. She soon uncovers a secret life that places her and her son's cat in danger.
The debut of the Jane-Winky amateur sleuth series is an entertaining amateur sleuth tale. At first look, the story line seems simple, but actually have several interesting twists. Fans will enjoy Jane's exploits and Winky's assistance, while the support cast makes suburban New Jersey appear real. However, though Evan Marshall provides the sub-genre with a fine mystery, his talent shines when he uses current scenarios for Jane seeking a solution to flashbacks into her past. This provides readers with much character insight and motivation while propelling the plot forward. Fans will want more novels starring this new amateur duo.

Harriet Klausner
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1.0 out of 5 stars Deeply derivative and very disappointing July 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found this book extremely disappointing, particularly in view of the favorable reviews posted here. The characters and plotlines seem to have been put together with assorted pieces from a "write your own amateur sleuth mystery story " construction kit. While the author knows how to construct a sentence and shows some skill in painting over the joints, it does little to disguise the lack of originality or the woodenness of the characters, who just don't ring true. Characters are more than just a compendium of idioscynracies and borrowed props (like the inevitable cat). You never get the feeling that the author really believes in what he is writing, and that inevitably makes it difficult for the reader to go along with him or the situations and people he is writing about. Unless the characters have a life of their own, the story - however clever the plot construction - just doesn't work.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Please, Don't Do It Again! Nov. 20 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have a pretty high tolerance for bad mystery books, but not this high. Missing Marlene was just plain dopey. Jane Stuart is an incredibly unsympathetic character, who, although she loves her son more than anything in the world, seems perfectly ok leaving him with anyone who happens to turn up. Her relationships run hot and cold; she gets really angry and behaves in a way no one would tolerate. There's no gray in this book, the characters are either saints or devils, and they switch from one to the other with amazing speed. Evidently, wishing to cash in on the rash of "cat mysteries", there's a cat in this book, who plays no conceivable part that I can see. "Winky" is mentioned about three times and his contribution to the solution is a real stretch of the imagination. I see this as the start of a series...count me out!
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5.0 out of 5 stars BOY, I AM TIRED TODAY...WHY? June 9 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
...I stayed up late to finish MISSING MARLENE!
Although I'm not an avid mystery reader, I found myself finishing the book in one sitting. Marshall kept the suspense building right to the end. I won't give anything away, but I guarantee you'll be left guessing right up to the last page.
For all you aspiring mystery writers out there--both the author and hero of MISSING MARLENE are literary agents. Keep a look out for tips on the ins and outs of agenting and how to and how NOT to deal with your agent.
Also, you may want to take a look at his nonfiction title, THE MARSHALL PLAN FOR NOVEL WRITING. It clearly lays out the novel-writing process from start to finish--helping you avoid beginner pitfalls.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Contemporary Cozy July 31 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a mystery writer with my first novel in initial release, I've heard quite a bit of conversation regarding Evan Marshall at mystery conventions at which I've appeared as an author. Mr. Marshall is a literary agent who launched his mystery series starring a literary agent with this book. Taking place in Shady Hills, New Jersey, Jane Stuart is the sleuth with a cat and several other hangers-on. In MISSING MARLENE, Jane and her people (including her cat)must find a missing person--Marlene. The book has a well-paced plot and enjoyable charcters. It is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary cozy.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
I was very disappointed with this book after reading the rave reviews it received from other people here. Read more
Published on April 20 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Cloyingly cute
This book really strains to be cloyingly cute. If marzipan could write, this is the kind of book it would produce.
Published on March 23 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise from this first time author.
As somebody who's reading taste leans more towards thrillers and harder-edged mysteries, (Thomas Harris, Jeffery Deaver) I didn't think I would be that interested in a book about a... Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2000 by Josh Knazan
5.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is WOW!
I have been an avid mystery reader for years, so when I discovered yet another new author, I wasn't sure what to think. Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2000 by Eliana Knazan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced, and FUN!!!
I don't read a lot of mystery books, but this one was a keeper! This book is fast paced, fun, and full of exciting twists. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2000 by Marsha Kyrmse
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
I loved this book! The story is engaging from the beginning and doesn't take you in a hundred different directions just to throw you off. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious mystery! What a delight!
What a delight it is to read a mystery that focuses on plot and characters instead of gore and violence! I admit that I was stumped at guessing the villain. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2000 by Candi Nelson
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