Scratch A Woman by Laura Lippman
Two sisters, living in the same neighborhood, each with their own problems in life. One sister is a single mother, but doesn’t seem to lack for money, while another is a housewife. Her husband isn’t the most reliable, in fact, he’s lost his job, but hasn’t told her about it. What is she going to do? What will happen to her and the kids?
One sister, has a life fueled by something that is traditionally part of the seedy underbelly, but she does well for herself and she does right by her employees.
One day, it’s just too much for the housewife. There are stairs, an accident, well, maybe not an accident, and at the bottom of the stairs lies her husband, dead, or so it appears. As it turns out, he wasn’t dead, but someone came around and finished the job, but who was it? Her husband’s death certainly made things easier for her. She begs her sister for help, assuming that because of her sister’s profession she would know someone who could help her out, but her sister doesn’t know that kind of people. It’s all very classy.
In the end, the truth does come out and the housewife decides to deal with the whole thing with a new-found power.
What I liked
This was certainly an interesting little book/story/novella/whatever. It’s pretty short, but not too short, as my point may be. There was definitely intrigue. Who did it? Who done it? Will the who do it again? Will there be another who? Will there be another it? The traditionally “bad” events of this book come from an unlikely source. One would think that the sister with the seedy connections, might have had something to do with it, but one would be wrong, of course, I don’t want to give too much away.
What I didn’t like
I feel as if I’m missing something. I know there are more stories/novellas/whatever belonging in this collection, but even so, I would think this story could stand on its own. I felt as if I was thrown into this strange family without any warning. Surprise one sister does this societal reprehensible thing and the other sister is going to do this other societal reprehensible thing! Aren’t they screwed up as all get out? Didn’t their parental issues screw them up so much that they think it’s ok to do these things?
That may be a bit overused, but yes, how your parents raise you and treat you can screw you up. This is just an awfully short explanation of how that can happen.
It was Colonel Mustard, in the basement, with a staircase.
Is it ever ok to do something that society finds reprehensible?
If you had a traumatic and a screwed up childhood, would it then be excusable for you to do certain things as an adult?