Saturday, February 8, 2014

Weekend Cooking- Almost True Confessions by Jane O'Connor


This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.


Almost True Confessions by Jane O'Connor
Published by William Morrow ISBN 978-0-06-223648-7
Trade paperback, $14.99, 336 pages

Sometimes when you read a book and there is a description of food, you begin to crave that food. That happened to me recently when I was reading Jane O'Connor's novel Almost True Confessions on a flight from Barbados to New York City.

It wasn't any fancy dish that she described that cause my craving; no, it was a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The main character, single mom and freelance copy editor Rannie Bookman loves her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, enjoying them every few chapters, and by the end of this fun little mystery I wanted to ring the flight attendant and ask for a PB&J myself.


This is a perfect book to read on an airplane: the mystery was not too complicated to follow, the setting was fun (Upper East Side high society in NYC), and the characters were interesting. The author, best known for her Fancy Nancy children's books, writes just as well for adults (including some racy sex scenes, oh my!).

Rannie gets a top secret assignment to pick up a manuscript at the home of a Kitty Kelly-type author who has written another scathing biography of a famous person. Ret Sullivan, the author, was attacked by one of her previous subjects, and her face disfigured by acid. She sees no one now, and Rannie was excited to meet the reclusive woman.

However, when Rannie arrives at the apartment, she finds that Ret has been murdered. This is a problem for Rannie since she was nearly killed herself when she got involved in another murder a few years ago (in O'Connor's adult book debut Dangerous Admissions).

Rannie's boyfriend, former cop-turned-bar-owner Tim warns Rannie to tell the cops what she knows and then stay out of it. That sounds like sage advice, but then Rannie gets a copy of the book from Ret's editor, and discovers it's not a nasty-tell-all but rather a straightforward biography of an Upper East Side society heiress (think Gloria Vanderbilt-type).

This intrigues Rannie and when she inadvertently ends up at the mansion of the heiress on a mercy mission for a friend of her ex-mother-in-law, her curiosity is piqued and she ends up right in the middle of the mystery.

I liked getting to know the characters- Rannie's teenage son Nate, Tim, Larry the sad sack editor, Rannie's mom Alice and ex-mother-in-law Mary, Daisie the ex-mother-in-law's friend, Sister Dorothy- they were all fun to spend time with between the pages.

The fact that Rannie is copy editor and by definition a grammar Nazi also made me smile, as I have that reputation as well and, like Rannie, struggle to keep my mouth shut when I hear or see misuse of the English language.

I enjoyed this breezy mystery and now I'm off to find a copy of Dangerous Admissions and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


rating 4 of 5


15 comments:

  1. Haha! What a random thing to crave! This books sounds like a great beach read!

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    1. I know, I haven't had a PB&J in a long time (after years of eating them for lunch at school), but boy did I want one on that plane!

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  2. I've been wanting to read this, so glad it's a fun mystery -- and stars a copyeditor! I know what you mean about reading a book and getting a craving for a particular food. Oh to be stuck on a plane without easy access to PB&J. LOL

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    1. I thought of you when I read it. What are the chances the protagonist in a mystery is going to be a copy editor?

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  3. Just so happens I've been craving . . . and eating PBJs all week! Must have been sensing this post coming up. Now I need to get my hands on this book, which sounds like a enjoyable read.

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  4. This sounds like a fun book! I've never been a jelly fan or a sandwich fan, for that matter, but every now and then a peanut butter and honey sandwich on homemade whole wheat would hit the spot. (Haven't had one in ages, and now am craving one!)

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  5. We don't have a peanut butter and jelly tradition here in New Zealand - in fact I've never eaten one! When you say jelly do you mean a particular sort of jam? Does it come pre-mixed? I obviously need to get out more! Cheers

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  6. The book I just finished (Glitter and Glue) also featured PB&J - grilled ones! I think they can be the ultimate comfort food. The Peanut Butter Co in the village has good PB&J's.

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  7. A few years ago I got a gourmet peanut butter with coconut in it. That made best PB toast (no jelly-the PB was so good).

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  8. Fun! I enjoy breezy easy books, especially on planes. Hope you had a great trip!

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  9. Sounds like a good book! The only downside to reading a book with food is the cravings you get!

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  10. I have never had a PB&J , it's just not a thing in Australia where Vegemite is the thing:) Thanks for sharing your weekend cooking post!

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  11. Lol--I just finished eating a PB&J on a cinnamon raisin bagel.

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  12. Books always get me wanting to eat whatever the characters have been eating. Can't go wrong with a simple PB and J sandwich. Yum.

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  13. Yes, it's funny how reading something can spark our appetite for a particular thing, isn't it? As Carole said above, here in New Zealand kiwi kids don't grow-up eating the classic PB&J, and although I've tried the combination, I don't find it pleasant. A peanut butter and banana sandwich on the other hand - now that I can get my teeth into.

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