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Dead Crazy (Jenny Cain Mysteries, No. 5) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1989


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Last seen in Marriage Is Murder , Jenny Cain, goodhearted but admirably disciplined director of the Port Frederick, Mass., Civic Foundation, skillfully utilizes intuition and steely nerves to solve two brutal slayings. When MaryDell Paine, wealthy and pompous do-gooder, appeals to the foundation for funds to renovate an old church basement as a recreation hall for former mental patients, it quickly becomes apparent that her altruism is tempered with urgent need. Her brother Kitt, a paranoid schizophrenic, has become a drain on the family's patience and finances. Jenny finds the site to be ideal, and begins to canvass the area, discovering a number of neighbors whose bizarre reactions to the renovation both provoke and intrigue her. When one of the neighbors is found slashed to death in the basement, suspicion falls on Kitt, and when another homeowner is discovered murdered in her living room, the search for Kitt intensifies, bringing Jenny into close cooperation with the able local police. A well-controlled sense of the absurd runs beneath the surface of the narrative, and Pickard is also deft at sharply rendering her characters' strong personalities. The plot eventually widens to include extortion and blackmail, all adeptly ferreted out by Jenny, as independent and imaginative as ever in her fifth mystery.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (June 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067173430X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671734305
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.7 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,342,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on August 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While the writing style was good and the plot was interesting, it was easy to imagine that this book had been written just a little too quickly. I was suprised by some of the plot holes and obviousnesses given the general high quality of the writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on August 21, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is set in small-town New England and features Jenny Cain, the woman in charge of the areas philanthropical foundation (very much like Indianapolis' Lilly Foundation) that makes investments and gives grants for the public good. The foundation is asked to buy a building so that it can be converted into a recreation/meeting hall for the mentally ill of the community - a place where they can get out of the cold and still be welcome. But, things quickly get complicated when people start dying in and around the building and a mentally ill man is the main suspect.

The characters are believable, the book is well-paced and the killer is a surprise (I thought I had it figured out for about half the book, but ... I was wrong).
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Format: Paperback
Jenny Cain lives in Port Frederick, Mass. She's the director of a small civic foundation which primarily serves Port Frederick and the immediate surrounding area. Since neither the town nor the foundation are very large, Jenny has lots of time to pursue other matters when the whim strikes. Jenny is a populist, and believes that organizations such as the foundation she heads should strive to do good in all feasible ways. On the other hand she's pretty hard headed and can spot a scam a mile off. One of her main pleasures in life is pricking the self-important ego-balloons of the pompous and the self-righteous. She's pretty good at it.

In DEAD CRAZY Jenny is moving the foundation toward supporting the establishment of a recreational center for former mental patients. Of course, NIMBY kicks in. (Not in My Backyard). One thing leads to another and in spite of numerous protestations to the effect that none of "these people" would harm a fly, an ex-patient is found slashed to death in the recreational center-to-be. All the evidence points to another ex mental patient. Usually you'd expect the local police to handle things, but since the foundation is involved and because Jenny herself is involved with Geoffrey Bush, ranking member of the local constabulary, and because she's now sold on the idea of supporting the center, well. . .

This mystery novel puts forward author Pickard's authoritative blend of characteristics for her protagonist. She surrounds Jenny with interesting, intriguing characters in a fresh setting. Then she carries the reader forward in a kind of jaunty, straightforward way to a logical, satisfying conclusion. What more could a reader ask?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do not like light-weight "mysteries" or suspense stories, of which this novel is a paradigm. The protagonist tries to be witty, in a kind of purified, decadent French way, but she still sounds like a hick from upstate New York. Her relationship with her lazy employee (Derek) would only work if she had a good, meaty affair with him. The story pooh-poohs the presence of a recreation hall for seriously ill men and women. Only a fool would not object to a facility that is designed for failure: the mentally ill will be allowed to wander in and out of this playground. The plot moves along "smoothly" with no edge, no suspense, leaving the reader numbed from its extreme dullness.
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