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Scary Stuff (Jane Wheel Mysteries) Hardcover – September 29, 2009

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Fiffer's spooky sixth Jane Wheel mystery to feature the Chicago collectibles picker and accidental private eye (after 2006's Hollywood Stuff), Jane is worried that her brother, Michael, might be involved with Honest Joe, a shady Internet dealer, after finding fake baseball cards in her brother's house while visiting him in California. More than once, customers swindled by Honest Joe on eBay have accosted Michael, who eerily looks like Honest Joe. After conferring with her detective partner, Bruce Oh, Jane gets on a trail that leads to Herscher, Ill., the home of Jim Speller, who might be the Internet swindler. Jim might also be living with Jane's mother's eccentric cousin, Ada. Jane, Bruce and associates wind up trying to trap some malevolent ghost thieves on Scary Night, Ada's Halloween haunted house festival, at the chilling climax. Fiffer supplies just enough background to ease new readers into the series. (Oct.)
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Review

Praise for Sharon Fiffer and All of Her Stuff

“Amusing takes on Hollywood personalities and excesses.”
---Kirkus Reviews on Hollywood Stuff

“Quirky characters, intriguing family relationships, antique lore, and the history of Kankakee are all entwined in this entertaining mystery.”
---Booklist on Buried Stuff 

“Not even John O’Hara could have objectified that social divide faster or neater.”
---Chicago Tribune on The Wrong Stuff

“Haunters of flea markets and yard sales are in for a collectible treat.”
---Publishers Weekly on The Wrong Stuff

“Fiffer has created an attractive and entertaining detective.”
---The Dallas Morning News on Killer Stuff

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

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Product Details

  • Series: Jane Wheel Mysteries (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312387784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312387785
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,001,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Memoir led to mystery for writer Sharon Fiffer

Before finding her inner Nancy Drew,Fiffer co-edited three collections of literary memoirs: Home, Family, and Body.

Editing the memoirs of others prompted her to write about her own childhood--growing up in the EZ Way Inn, her parents' tavern in Kankakee, Illinois. When she began creating the character of antiques picker and scavenger, Jane Wheel, she decided to merge her own memories with those of her fictional heroine, giving Jane a giant helping of her Kankakee childhood.

"It's great fun to rewrite one's childhood and work out all the humor and glitches and heartbreaks of being a grown-up daughter while also struggling to be a mother, a wife, a professional, and a friend. It's also fun to shop at garage sales, rummage sales, flea markets and estate sales--all in the name of research."

Sharon Fiffer admits to having a few collections of her own, but is happy to work out any obsessions with Bakelite buttons, crocheted potholders and vintage sterling silver charm bracelets on the pages of her novels.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Chicago collectible picker Jane Wheel is very concerned with her brother Michael whom she fears is working with dishonest eBay dealer Honest Joe. Her evidence is counterfeit baseball cards she found in her sibling's house when she visited him in California.

She also knows that customers taken to the cleaners by dishonest Honest Joe have been ready to beat the snot out of Michael. Worse Michael looks like Honest Joe's twin that is on his internet store site. Jane asks her detective partner, Bruce Oh to investigate. His inquiry leads her to Jim Speller of Herscher, Illinois; however Jim apparently is living with Jane's second cousin Ada, who is hosting a "Scary Night" haunted house festival with "real" thieving ghosts.

The latest Jane Wheel mystery (see HOLLYWOOD STUFF) is an exciting fast-paced investigative tale with several fabulous twists as readers anticipate the next spin. Jane is at her best as she tries to identify who Honest Joe the internet thief is and what the connection to her brother is; she rules out separated at birth theory. Fans will relish her efforts to protect Michael from irate surfers by uncovering the truth. SCARY STUFF is an enthralling amateur sleuth mystery.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the other books in this series and was waiting for this one to come out. It was worth the wait. Now I have to wait for the next one - and I sure hope there is one! Keeps you guessing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Antique picker Jane Wheel loves old stuff that was never meant to be in a collection-- old aprons and tea towels, orphaned Bakelite buttons, other families' photos... the list is endless--and she's good at it, reselling her estate sale finds to other collectors and adding to the treasure-filled rooms of her own home. These days, she's really a P.P.I., a Picker Private Investigator, because she is also an associate to a private detective. Bakelite buttons and secrets: Jane Wheel is good at finding them both.

Making a rare visit to her brother and his family, Jane was intrigued when Michael told her about the three times he was accused by strangers of cheating them on eBay only to realize they'd gotten the wrong man once they'd taken a good look at his face. Jane agrees to look into it for her brother and returns home to Illinois.

When she's back in Illinois, one of her parents' friends is attacked, and suddenly Jane has two cases, both of which seem a little too close to her loved ones.

Jane grew up in Kankakee, Illinois, and then moved to Chicago where she became a high-rolling advertising executive, got married and had a child. When she decided to put her power suits into storage and start picking, she found herself having much more contact with her childhood best friend and her parents. But even though she spends most of her time in a much more rural setting, she's a bit too much of a city girl:

"Country driving always made her nervous. All of these look-alike county roads, numbered or lettered, and no one around to answer any questions about directions. No landmarks, unless you consider the livestock, and one couldn't very well turn at the two cows or go straight past the trotting horse.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A while back a friend of mine gave me a copy of "Killer Stuff," which was my first Sharon Fiffer mystery novel. My friend knew I had a passion for mysteries and antiques. Well, that was all it took---I was hooked. Now after "Killer Stuff, plus "Scary Stuff," "Hollywood Stuff," "Buried Stuff," "Dead Guy's Stuff," and "The Wrong Stuff," I am in the middle of "Backstage Stuff" and feel like I personally know (and like) Jane Wheel, Nick and Charley, Tim, Don and Nellie, Oh and sometimes, Claire. Sharon's characters are so real! Can't wait to get my hands on "Lucky Stuff," and I have my fingers crossed that Sharon keeps them coming!!! Start reading so you don't miss out!
Sandy R.
Brown Dog Antiques
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all the Jane Wheel stories and have enjoyed the ever-evolving Relationship between Jane and her Mom. It started so stilted and didn't seem to be based on love. But old Nellie has become an endearing character. And what are we to think about Jane and Oh's evolving relationship now that Jane is unattached and Claire is depicted more and more as a bitch?

I love antiques and am a bit of a picker myself so I love to read of Jane's finds along with the obligatory body.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this story! The characters are cute, eccentric and strange in their own individual way – a lot of them made me chuckle and smile just because they reminded me of characters in my family! The story is well plotted, believable and yet as a surprising ending. Have enjoyed all the books that I’ve read in this series – also enjoy her traipsing episodes through her “junk collecting” – fit me to a tee! Good read!
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By GayeC on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed all of the Jane Wheel mysteries, and look forward to Backstage Stuff in January. Jane is likeable and very human - so much so that I sometimes want to shake her! The characters in these books work for me, although sometimes the situations they find themselves in are a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, all five books have been enjoyable to read.
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