Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Something Fun for Summer

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Karen Bergreen's debut, Following Polly. As I dove in, though, I wasn't really sure where it was going. I also wasn't sure if it was going to be quite my cup of tea. Fortunately, though, Bergreen came through! Following Polly is a quirky and fun mystery with a very atypical heroine.

In the beginning, Alice Teakle works for a highly successful casting agent in New York. It wasn't a career that Alice chose for herself, but it was steady work and she was pretty good at it. All of that changed when, in a moment of conscience, Alice revealed a little too much information to an actress and was overheard by her wretched boss. Jobless and faced with starting over, Alice isn't even sure what she wants to do. When she runs into an old classmate, though, she becomes obsessed with the woman. Polly Dawson, entrepreneur and wife to famous director Humphrey Dawson, has led a charmed life. And she's done it by being an uber bitch to those around her. At first, it's just kind of a lark. But then Alice finds herself spending her entire days following Polly. When Polly is murdered, though, Alice is the prime suspect. Unable to return home or turn to her friends, Alice goes on the run, eventually tracking down a longtime crush who might just be able to offer some assistance in clearing her name.

By the time Alice goes on the run, I was kind of obsessed. At first, when Alice is following Polly, you don't really know much about her, and that's kind of the point. I think throughout the story, Alice actually learns more about herself and the reader is treated to that as it happens. So by the time Polly is murdered, Alice is just starting to figure things out and that really engaged me as a reader. Even her own perceptions of herself compared to what other characters were saying was different. Alice sees herself as forgettable. Her friends see her in a very different light. But this unassuming attitude is what allows Alice to follow people in the first place. Bergreen's mystery is also well-plotted. I had no clue who the killer was until the very end, as Alice is discovering the killer's identity herself.

Following Polly is out on shelves now and makes for an entertainingly smart, light mystery.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Sounds like one I must check out