countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more vpcflyout Home All-New Kindle Explore the Vinyl LP Records Store sports Tools

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on July 19, 2000
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 2, 1999
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
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 5, 2003
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 20, 1999
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!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 9, 1999
...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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 31, 2001
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 25, 2000
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 woman and her cat. I was pretty surprised to find myself a few hours later, halfway through the book, and completely immersed in the storyline. Mr. Marshall has a way of describing the characters' personalities in a way that makes you feel like you know them. This book was a pleasant surprise from this first time author, and I looked forward to reading further work of his.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 7, 2000
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. Now I look forward to the next one and the next one and the next one--I hope there are many! This is one author who will be on my list of favorites.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 28, 2000
I have been an avid mystery reader for years, so when I discovered yet another new author, I wasn't sure what to think. Besides, what kind of dork would name his books using alliteration? An amazing author, that is who! Once I picked up this book, I could not put it down. A+ to Mr. Marshall!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 2000
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. I recommend it to anyone who likes the suspense of mystery, but doesn't enjoy the darkness of most mysteries.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse