Margaret Dumas. Speak Now (2004) 318 pp.
As she returns from London to San Francisco, Charley Van Leeuwen wonders how her friends will react to the hunk sharing the first class row with her, as everyone knows Charley as the “most romantically challenged woman in the Western hemisphere.” Charley is bringing with her a husband—Jack Fairfax—whom she met six weeks ago, but the hunk’s eyes hooked the commitment phobic woman. Jack and Charley stay at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, but when she goes to turn on the water in the bathtub, Charley finds a corpse there. SFPD Inspector Yahata leads the investigation, but Charley asks all the questions. The honeymooners go to another room, but Charley’s ensemble of friends arrives to interrupt. Converting from single life to married becomes more chaotic as Charley is in the middle of a tangle involving a ransom and bullets aimed at her and Jack. Realizing her spouse is not just the weatherman, Charley takes charge of insuring he, Uncle Harry, other family members, and her friends are safe from kooks, killers and kidnappers, while also trying to keep her not-for-profit repertory theater from bankruptcy. [Editor’s note: This novel was short-listed for Britain’s C.W.A. 2003 Debut Dagger Award]