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A Bad Day For Pretty    by Sophie Littlefield order for
Bad Day For Pretty
by Sophie Littlefield
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After surviving years of abuse at the hands of husband Ollie, Stella Hardesty decides she's had enough. At her trial she's quickly acquitted of murder. Once the media frenzy dies down, she's eager to begin a new life as proprietor of a knitting shop. She even decides it's about time to make a move on sheriff Goat Jones, whom she's had her eye on for years. The female population of Prosper, Missouri, however, have other ideas. Before long Stella, the newly minted ass-kicking avenger, finds herself involved in helping another abused woman, never realising that this first case could very well be her last.

Such is the premise of Littlefield's debut excursion into the mystery genre. A Bad Day For Sorry was well received and garnered the author an impressive array of accolades, including Edgar finalist for Best First Novel.

A Bad Day For Pretty may not be as intense and action packed, but Stella still manages to get herself entangled in a puzzling investigation after a tornado unearths the mummified remains of a woman's body. Neb Donovan swears he had nothing to do with the woman's demise, but authorities find plenty of hard evidence to incriminate him. Even so, wife Connie stands by her man one hundred percent and so does Stella. Years ago she'd been instrumental in helping Neb shake a nasty Oxicontin addiction. Surely it was only an unfortunate coincidence that the dead woman was an employee of the very drug company that makes the stuff. To make matters even more complicated, Goat's scheming ex-wife blows into town to muddy Stella and Goat's romantic waters, and maybe even throw an additional bit of uncertainty into Neb's case.

If you like kick-butt, no nonsense middle-aged anti-heroines then Stella Hardesty is the woman for you. She's irreverent, single-minded and bang on funny, and basically lets nothing stand in the way of doling out her particular brand of justice - not even straight arrow sheriff Goat Jones. The murder mystery often plays second fiddle to the large cast of characters Stella interacts with as she relentlessly digs for the truth, but A Bad Day For Pretty still makes for a breezy, quirky and enjoyable mystery.

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