||Outrageous Books/Madison Johns
||Nov 1, 2011
Senior citizen Agnes Baron and partner in crime, Eleanor Mason, search for a recent disappearance of missing tourist Jennifer Martin.
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Author Madison Johns
Senior sleuth — Grandma Mazur meets Murder She Wrote — cozy mystery.
Agnes Barton is not your typical senior citizen living in Tadium, MI, on the shores of Lake Huron. She drives a red hot Mustang, shops at Victoria's Secret, rankles local police officials, and has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.
What does a murder that happened forty-three years ago have to do with missing tourist Jennifer Martin? Agnes makes it her personal mission to find out, and she's not letting the fact she's seventy-two get in the way. Butting heads with Sheriff Clem Peterson is something she's accustomed to, but lately Clem seems to be acting even more strange, making Agnes wonder what he may be hiding ala the Martin disappearance.
Agnes’ partner in crime, Eleanor Mason tags along, Watson to her Holmes.
Together, they unearth clues. If only Eleanor would behave, as although lovable, she has a knack for getting into trouble by tangling with her rival, Dorothy Alton, or flirting with anyone—male or female—and gossiping! She's incorrigible, but she does carry a Pink Lady revolver in her purse, one that has proved useful at times.
Life for Agnes and Eleanor is shaken up when Agnes' former boss and secret crush comes to Tadium. Before long, the lady sleuths have more on their hands to contend with as goons roll into town and bullets begin to fly.
Main character Agnes Barton.
I gazed across Lake Huron and watched the boats far in the distance. I had never been on a boat aside from the charter fishing boat with Eleanor once. Fishing was never my thing, but watching Eleanorís face light up when she caught a perch warmed my heart. Watching her trying to catch the little bugger when it fell on the deck was priceless.
Her antics never ceased to amaze me, one of the reasons we were friends.
We spooned in our delicious concoction when Dorothy and Frank Alton walked in and hugged Sally, whoís their granddaughter.
Eleanor froze with her spoon midway to her mouth, and chocolate syrup dripped down and rested on her cleavage. Frank drew his gaze as if on radar, openly staring at Eleanorís now chocolate-covered chest. Dorothyís eyes grew large when she saw Frank ogling Eleanor. Her nostrils flared, and she resembled a bull about to charge when the wife started to bark or so it seemed.
I immediately thought, oh my God, where is that yapping coming from? Then I recalled Dorothy's dog. Surely, Dorothy hadnít brought her Shih Tzu in with her? Sure enough, she held the yapping dog, oddly named Zeus, in her arms.
Iím pretty damn sure that allowing a dog into an eating establishment remained illegal in Michigan, unless it was a seeing-eye dog. And I felt confident that this pint-sized annoyance to the eardrums wouldnít qualify.
"Get that damn dog outta here," Eleanor said to Dorothy. "Itís not my problem your husband knows a good look-iní woman when he sees one."
Dorothy cleared her throat. "Good looking? Miss Melanoma."
What I saw next baffled my mind.
It seemed to happen in slow motion. Eleanor tackled Dorothy, dog and all. They scuffled on the floor and rolled around resembling a pair of flailing fish while the dog yipped and yapped up a storm to Frank's laughter.
Eleanor got in a few punches, but Dorothy yanked her head back, and spat in Eleanorís face. At this point, even Zeus had sense enough to retreat from the pair.
Dorothy managed to make it to her feet, but as she tried to stagger away, Eleanor snatched her wig from her head. Gasps were heard about the room, and Eleanor lifted her head up and walked away.
"I so showed that bitch," Eleanor said.
Dorothy wasnít through yet. I could see it when her eyes glazed over.
She planted a tub of ice cream over Eleanorís head, and cackled when she couldn't immediately get it off.
I jumped up, and removed it before she should suffocate. I was in no mood, to do CPR.
Seeing Dorothy minus her wig, I hid a snicker. She had hair. She just hadnít had it done this week. It looked dirty, flat, and in sad need of coloring.
Dorothy Alton had always prided herself on looking put together. You could tell by the clothes she wore. Her shirts and pants always matched. Her shoes matched her pants, and her hats matched her shirts. She was every bit the princess her family thought her to be, or a legend in her own mind. I believed she thought she was both.
When she spoke, it sounded more like a screech, and I saw her nails were razor sharp, evident by the deep scratches on Eleanorís arms.
As for Eleanor, ice cream covered her and had run into her cleavageómaking for a complete hot fudge sundae. Eleanor stuck her tongue out toward Frank in a suggestive manner. Dorothy tried to dash toward her again, but Frank held her back.
"Calm down, Dorothy," Frank said.
Dorothy began bawling like a baby, always the drama queen. "Did you see what she did?" Dorothy mumbled, between sobs.
"Iíll take you to the hairdresser, so you can get your hair done."
"Okay, but look at what she did to my clothes."
"Iíll buy you new clothes in Saginaw."
"Oh Frank, but thatís a long way." She glanced at Sally. "Can you drive us after work?"
"Sure, Grams, whatever you want."
I watched while Dorothy swooped Zeus up and left with Frank. He didnít look happy. This would set him back a pretty penny no doubt.
Sally ran into the back and returned with a mop bucket and two wet towels. She handed the towels to Eleanor who then tried to wipe the ice cream off.
I picked up the mop and mopped the floor while darts shot from Sallyís eyes. She took the mop from my hands and finished the task.
"Oh, this isn't doing any good. All itís doing is making me more sticky," Eleanor whined.
"Serves you right, Eleanor," I said.
She pouted while I laughed. She really was quite the mess.
Sally walked over to me and spoke between clenched teeth. "You two so owe me." She dropped her head in her hands. "Like I want to spend my day driving clear to Saginaw and traipsing around with those two all day." She wiped her hands with a towel. "You think theyíre bad here. Try being trapped in a car with those two on a road trip."
God forbid Dorothy buy clothing at Walmart like the rest of us, but I didnít say a word. There were no words that could excuse Eleanorís behavior, but she couldn't help herself, being uncontrollably impulsive by nature.
"Come on, Eleanor, Iíll drive you home." I put money down on the counter, far exceeding the twenty I thought it would cost.
Eleanor hung her head, and turned to Sally. "Iím awful sorry, Sally. I guess Iím banned again."
"See you next week," Sally said.
A Cozy Mystery with Sex, Drugs and....Grandma!
As mysteries go, this is probably not your grandmother's "cozy," but it may be your grandmother! Agnes Barton, a 72 year-old widow, is sometimes down, but never out. She's got a hot car and a hotter wardrobe, and an insatiable desire for...justice. While there have been other elderly female sleuths - Agatha Christie's Miss Marple comes immediately to mind - I doubt there have been the likes of Agnes Barton and her side-kick Eleanor Mason. Not content to sip tea and eat a crumpet or two, Agnes is all action and always on the go. She'll solve this crime or die trying (and almost does). The story revolves around - and weaves together - a newly missing young woman (Jennifer), a previously missing young woman (Agnes's granddaughter) and an unsolved crime from 1968. Toss in an old flame who's back in town, a rather inept sheriff, some out-of-town "goons," and an understanding State Trooper, then season with a bit of sass, a special "lipstick" that would make James Bond blush, some very adult shenanigans and a pinch of pot, and you've got the perfect mix for a great read. And did I mention the cat...and the mice? Oh, and be prepared to laugh...a lot.
While the mystery itself is well handled, what really makes this book a stand-out is the portrayal of the old folks who populate the story. Madison clearly knows the elderly, and not only has a handle on how they talk - and what they talk about - but also is very adept at showing us the humorous side of old age. But more importantly, Madison also sensitively delves into the things not generally discussed - the need for companionship, love, sex, and the difficulty of adjusting to the loss of a spouse. Her people are real people, with real needs, and they are not afraid to talk about them - or seek out ways to meet them. It is clear that Madison has affection for her characters.
This book is a first-class read. It moves along well, is full of colorful characters, and is very, very funny. I can't wait for the sequels; I'd like to see these people again. Madison has described this book as a "cozy," and that's exactly how you should be when you start this...and a glass of wine would be just fine, too.
Agnes Barton, the Jane Marple of Michigan
"Armed and Outrageous" is a most excellent mystery. When young tourist, Jennifer Martin vanishes while jogging on US 23 in the small Michigan town of Tadium, just as other young female tourists have including her own granddaughter Sophia, seventy-two year-old Agnes Barton decides that she and her best friend, eighty-two year-old Eleanor Mason are going to find out what happened. So Aggie and El launch an investigation that takes them on a series of adventures and misadventures spiced with humor, intrigue and danger, and you can bet these two senior citizens are not about to be trifled with, not by a Sheriff named Peterson and most definitely by any bad guys. Do they solve the mystery? There's only one way to find out.
Laced with mirth, wisdom and insight into what it is like to be "up there in years," this delightful story is fast paced, exciting and keeps the reader's attention throughout. "Armed and Outrageous," is the quintessential mystery and is a must read for mystery lovers everywhere!
This is a wonderful, fun read! I've never read a book from the perspective of a seventy-two year old woman. The book is written in first person. A style that only a very good writer can make believable, and Madison Johns does a very good job of it.
Agnes is a spunky gal that's for sure. Her best friend Eleanor is just as bad at eighty-two. These two ladies shouldn't be allowed out in public, but whose supposed to stop them. The local and state police sure can't. Agnes's tenacity to solve the towns missing person epidemic borders on fanatical. Nothing is going to get in her way. Especially when the newest disappearance might help her to find her own granddaughter, missing for a year now. The similarities in the cases between the two women are too uncanny for it to be a mere coincidence.
This book has a lot going on with the solving of its mysteries, but also a flair for the local mentality of a small, tightly knit town. Some of the instances border on hilarious. I will definitely read another book from this author. Especially, if it's a continuation with these two senior citizens. I really liked this book!
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