Meet Tolbert O’Shaugnessy, a con artist who uses the brandy bottle to ease his pain and who chews Tums like it is candy. Tolbert meets Miriam who cooks up a plan (The Big Con) to kill her Grandma and get a large payday of over a million dollars. Here’s the catch…he would have to pose as her cousin, Joseph Lancaster who has been declared dead in England but Grandma doesn’t know about his death.Brewer weaves a very interesting noir story filled with colorful characters and even a rambunctious monkey named Gargantua who Grandma is convinced is her deceased husband, Desmond sending messages and protecting her. The dialogue was spot on and the mystery unfolded nicely in the midst of Tolbert/Joseph falling in love with Ann Elliot, Grandma’s companion-secretary and realizing that he couldn’t go through with the con.
Although there were a few typographical errors, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and would definitely read other novels by this author.Two thumbs up!
My favorite lines:
“Grandma,” I said, feeling suddenly worse than ever about the entire thing.
She moved toward me, hands still out, beginning to snuffle now. Then she ran to me, flung her arms around my shoulders, sobbing. The sobbing began to alter, changing into laughter; and I could smell lavender perfume. Pressed against me, I could feel her bones; she was like loosely stretched cloth strung over sticks. It was as if I could feel the sticks, her bones, move brokenly about.
“Joseph, Joseph,” she said, laughing around the words. “I knew you’d come home, I knew it. Desmond tells me it’s only a question of time, and here you are.” She gagged a little, snuffling, and turned her face up to me, smiling. She was feeling my arms now, pressing, grabbing with her fingers, checking to make sure I wasn’t a mirage. “My little boy,” she said, “My boy’s come home.”
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Miriam said absently.
Rating: 4 stars