I read the first book in this series a while back, and since I remembered enjoying it quite a bit I figured I couldn’t go too far wrong skipping ahead in the series (to the twentieth book! Wow) for Die Like an Eagle. I was right – it was a lot of fun.
I did have some quibbles – starting with a comment by heroine Meg that “Until lately, the only Biff I knew was a character in Death of a Salesman” – but … but … Have you never seen Back to the Future? Ever?
The plot involves our detecting heroine and her husband and their twin sons’ involvement in – no, not Little League: Summerball. Which is being run, or run into the ground, by aforementioned Biff, who skews everything in such a way to give him the most power and, wherever possible, the most money. Because of this, the field and grounds are in terrible shape, including the fact that there is a grand total of one (Biff-owned) porta-potty serving the kids and their families at any given game. And no one wants to use it, because it makes the image in your head when I write “porta-potty” look pretty rosy by comparison. That becomes a huge part of the plot, the Battle of the Bathroom(s), especially when a body is found there.
All the way through the book I was muttering there has to be a law. Well, I don’t know if it’s law or simply Federal guidelines, and if the latter how binding they are, but I found a website called americanrestroom.org (my browsing history gets more and more interesting), on which I found the following:
For Special Events for which there are no permanent toilet facilities, PSUs should be provided as follows.
1 For a typical distribution of men, women and children, there must be 1 toilet for every 300 people.
2 For an Event attended primarily by women and children there should be 1 toilet for every 200 people.
3 For an even distribution of men and women at an event where alcoholic beverages are served, there should be 1 toilet for every 240 people.
Heck, FEMA has a chart.
There also has to be a law regarding handicap accessibility; I know for retail or office space there certainly is.
The other main quibble I had was that a woman totters, drunk as a lord, into the police station, makes a scene, and is stopped outside as she’s about to drive away – and pulls a gun on the two officers who approach her. But five minutes later – or, you know, about a day – she’s out. “Wasn’t she in jail?” “Once she sobered up we let her out on bail”. I’m … sorry, you did what now? She was about to drive while under the influence and then pulled a gun – a loaded gun – on police officers, and waved it around, thereby endangering anyone else within a 360 degree radius … and you let her go? Ever?
I don’t know. I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the hijinks of the good guys trying to get around Biff and his machinations; I really enjoyed the Summerball official who swooped in for a visit. Sure, there were plenty of things that strained suspension of disbelief (really? You can actually accommodate that many people at the last minute? And then again a day or two later?), but it was okay here. I was kind of exhausted by the end – how these people got so much done in so few days is baffling to me, and I needed a nap just reading about it. Overall it was a fun book, and one of these days I will definitely fill in the 18-book gap between this one and the first.
The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.