A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield [website] 288 pages Published August 4, 2009 (HC); May 25, 2010 (PB) Mystery
The reason that I picked up A Bad Day for Sorry is because my friend Jen from Jen’s Book Thoughts told me she thought I’d like it. She hasn’t steered me wrong yet, and while this book didn’t lift my skirt up, I definitely enjoyed it.
Stella Hardesty is a middle aged, plump, not-particularly-beautiful woman who escaped from her abusive husband about five years ago, and has since started helping other women either escape their abusive husbands, or if need be, she can encourage the men to behave differently.
Reporting back to Stella was not optional, but her parolees were usually anxious to comply. First meetings with Stella tended to have that effect.
Second meetings – if a parolee was dim-witted enough to require one, put any lingering doubts to rest.
Stella’s attitude is instantly endearing. She’s a no-nonsense woman who kicks ass. And she’s not a cookie cutter mystery genre protagonist, since she’s middle aged and overweight.
Chrissy comes to Stella because Stella’s been keeping Chrissy’s ex, Roy Dean, in line, but both Roy Dean and Chrissy’s 18-month-old son have disappeared, and Chrissy needs help getting her son back. What Stella doesn’t anticipate is that Roy Dean has gotten in above his head through a stolen auto parts ring with some really really bad guys, guys who wouldn’t hesitate to kill Stella.
Interspersed throughout the story is Stella’s history with her husband, Ollie, and why she’s estranged from her adult daughter Noelle. Littlefield writes with no apologies about her characters. She puts them out there for you to like or not like, but she won’t dress them up or pretend they’re something they’re not. This is something that comes with the territory of having a protagonist who defends battered women, but it’s nonetheless refreshing to meet a character like Stella.
I did get a little annoyed with Chrissy. I didn’t connect with her the way that I did with Stella, and I didn’t think her reaction to her missing son was…frantic enough. She grew on me a little as the novel progressed, but towards the end there were times I wondered if this was the same character that Littlefield had introduced at the beginning. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Chrissy’s development felt clunky, choppy.
I loved Stella’s interest in the local Sheriff, Goat Jones. The Sheriff understands more about Stella and what she does than he outright says, so the dance they do around Stella’s quote unquote activities (some of them legal, some of them illegal, most of them sketchy) was cute.
About 3/4 of the way through the book, I noticed that Stella’s family all had double l’s in their name (Stella, Ollie, Noelle), and then I noted Chrissy has a double consonant in her name, and it seems more than just a coincidence that there’s so many characters with double consonants in their name, but I couldn’t figure out the reason or the pattern, if there is one.
This was the perfect book for me to read at this time. It was a light mystery with a great protagonist, a little humor, and a little action (well, a lot of action in the last third).
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars