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The Wrong Stuff: A Jane Wheel Mystery [Mass Market Paperback]

Sharon Fiffer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 26 2004 Jane Wheel Mysteries (Book 3)

Jane Wheel is an antiques picker, cruising garage sales looking for items she can turn around and sell to dealers for a tidy profit. She also has a knack for finding clues and solving crimes...
But her vast collection of junk has landed her in an emotional quagmire. When a school permission slip gets lost among the towering boxes in Jane’s kitchen, causing her son Nick to miss a field trip, Jane vows to get rid of it all, organizing her house and, she hopes, her life. A call from detective Bruce Oh asking for help on a homicide promises a new career direction. Jane can hardly wait to investigate, until she learns the identity of the accused: it’s antiques dealer Claire Oh, wife of her new partner. And the trail leads right back into the heart of her passion for other people’s stuff...and into a deadly joining of old passions, new secrets, and imminent danger.


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Product Description

From Booklist

Antiques picker Jane Wheel has vowed to reduce the clutter in her home after losing her son's field-trip permission slip. At the same time, she must decide whether to join former police detective Bruce Oh's private detective agency. Events come to a head when Oh's wife, Claire, an antiques dealer, is accused of substituting a fake chest for an extremely rare find. When the buyer is murdered, leaving Claire the prime suspect, Jane agrees to investigate; so she and her longtime friend Tim go off to Campbell and LaSalle, the company where the chest was restored, and Jane finds a second body. The plot has a few holes--it's unrealistic to think that Jane would be able to search and remove evidence from the second victim's cabin and vehicle before the police do--but readers will respond to the likable characters and their amusing interrelationships. The details of antiques picking, dealing, and restoring, as well as clutter removal, offer added dimensions to an enjoyable series. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise For Sharon Fiffer And Her Novels
“Absolutely charming. Added bonus: the amusing admonitions to pack rats that head up each chapter.”-Kirkus Reviews

“Sharon Fiffer writes very clever ‘stuff.’ Think Antiques Roadshow meets I Love Lucy and prepare to enjoy.”-Jerrilyn Farmer, author of the bestselling Madeline Bean mysteries

“Fiffer has created an attractive and entertaining detective.”-Dallas Morning News

“Sharon Fiffer’s first mystery is a must-have...this is a keeper.”-Chicago Tribune on Killer Stuff

“Readers whose idea of heaven is picking through boxes of junk at a dusty flea market are certain to love this entertaining first novel starring Chicagoan Jane Wheel...an auspicious debut featuring a popular pastime.” -Booklist on Killer Stuff

“Clever...well-developed, entertaining characters...pack rats and fans of lighter mystery fare should be perfectly satisfied.” -Publishers Weekly on Dead Guy’s Stuff

“A promising springboard for future tales.” --Orlando Sentinel on Killer Stuff


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Okay, so these are silver plate, and I really don't collect silver plate or silver or anything shiny like that, except maybe hotel silver when I can find it, when it slips through the fingers of the damn Basswood twins who pick for that trendy hotel and restaurant ware shop. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute and charming Feb. 27 2004
Format:Hardcover
When her friend's wife is accused of murder, part-time antique picker, part time private detective, and part time bad-mom Jane Wheeler and her gay friend Tim set off for a fine furniture comune. Jane quickly finds another victim and an even bigger mystery. Nobody in the comune seems completely happy, but there certainly don't seem to be any reason why someone would kill. Still, two people are dead now and Jane knows that her friend's wife is innocent.
Jane's investigation turns up plenty of problems, and puts her in danger of being killed herself, but it is cryptic clues from her distant mother and strange vibes from the local residents that finally give her the intuitive leap to solving the mystery.
Author Sharon Fiffer does an excellent job portraying Jane Wheeler's troubles with stuff--she is so intent on buying stuff that her house and garage overflow and she gets so distracted she forgets to sign her son's permission slip for a field trip--and integrating it into the story. The plot line about antique furniture and faked antiques is intriguing and Sharon's research adds to the story without drawing the reader out of it.
Fiffer's writing is fresh and funny. Jane is a charming character whose problems create reader identification (who hasn't been overwhelmed by too much of the Wrong Stuff), and her concerns over reaching middle age, being a good mother, and balancing her careers all ring true. THE WRONG STUFF is the right stuff as far as light-hearted mysteries go. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Stuff Runneth Over Feb. 8 2004
Format:Hardcover
Like the Jadite and Bakelite and old linens and handwriting that Jane finds, Sharon Fiffer's "Stuff" series just keeps getting better. When we last left Jane Wheel, Kankakee saloon owners' daughter, former ad exec, Charley's not-so-estranged wife and Nick's momma, now antique "picker," sentimental "junquer," and ameuteur sleuth, she was chillin on the back porch with husband Charley, contemplating what she was going to be when she grew up. Would she reunite the family with Charley? Would she go into the picking/selling antiques/collectibles business with bestfriend since 1st grade Tim? Would she partner with retired Police Detective Oh (he of the great old ties?) Or have it all, to be a PI ("Picker Investigator?")
But can one have too much Stuff? Too many titles and responsibilities? Fiffer has invented organizing maven Belinda St. Germain, author of *Overstuffed An Addicts Guide to Decluttering* who chides and guides disciples into getting rid of their excessive Stuff before it suffocates them. Would but she were real and I could collect her books!
The title, "The Wrong Stuff," has multiple meanings as one meanders through the mystery. Fiffer sells intelligent social commentary along with another fun foray into the cozy colorful world of collectors and collectables, cleverly set up in the two prior "Stuffs."
TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer
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5.0 out of 5 stars The work of a fine writer Jan. 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A friend of mine in the publishing business, an editor at one of the big houses who knows I'm a great admirer of the well-turned sentence, recommended this series to me last year and it was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time. In THE WRONG STUFF and its two predecessor books Mrs. Fiffer has done to the "picking" subculture what was done to dog shows by Guest and Levy in the movie "Best in Show" (but in a nice way). This third installment, like the previous two, has a cast of compelling characters and a plot that keeps the reader turning the pages and thoroughly engaged with Jane Wheel and Bruce Oh as they puzzle their way to the very satisfying conclusion. And those would be reasons enough to recommend this book to anyone who loves to read.
But they are not the main reason. The main reason you ought not to leave this page before mousing over and adding this book to your shopping cart is, in a word, the writing. It's the kind of writing that can make you laugh out loud. And think hard about your own life, if you're of a certain age. It can make you hurt for characters you know exist only in your imagination and that of those others who have been fortunate enough to stumble across this wonderful series. It is, frankly, the kind of writing that many of the big names at the top of the best seller list wouldn't recognize if it bit them on the leg.
Sharon Fiffer is the best writer nobody ever heard of. Please keep 'em coming, ma'am.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The lead character suffers from ADHD! Jan. 5 2004
Format:Hardcover
I'm always looking for a unique perspective in a mystery, and as a longtime Antique Roadshow fan, I was drawn to Jane Wheel's job as a antique "picker," somebody who finds unique "stuff" for dealers.
Jane has an avocation as a detective, working for Bruce Oh, whose wife is in trouble. A dealer has turned up dead and Claire Oh is a suspect because the dealer accused her of trying to sell him a phony chest of drawers.
Jane and her partner Tim Lowry set off to Campbell and LaSalle's, an artist's colony that also does furniture restoration, to try to exonerate Clair. When they get there, Jane discovers a body, a man face down in a pool of water, an apparent suicide or accidental death.
The trouble with the lead character is that she can't seem to focus. If I were a doctor, I'd diagnose ADHD. The chapter headings offer a clue as to what this book will be like. They're from a book entitled, OVERSTUFFED. Because she was so occupied with collecting, Jane forgot to sign a permission slip for her son and he wasn't allowed to go on a field trip. Now she feels like a bad mother and she's determined to eliminate the clutter from her life. So, every so often, even in the midst of an important clue as to what's going at Campbell and LaSalle's, Jane will be distracted by her bulging purse, her cell phone, a good-looking man, some delicacy she's having for lunch, or by her sidekick, Tim, who's always pulling practical jokes on her. The plot is extremely thin and the resolution is even thinner. The characters are stereotypical. There's a gay man, an inscrutable oriental and a nagging mother. What's really hard to believe is that this is the third in a series. St. Martin's was one of the last to reject over-the-transom submissions. If this is the best they can do, they really ought to go back to the slush pile.
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