A call from Stella Hardesty's little sister brings the news that Stella's step-nephew, Chip, has been threatened with serious bodily harm if he doesn't settle his unpaid gambling debts. Stella makes the drive to Chip's home in Wisconsin, only to walk in on a wee-hours dismemberment. Chip and his Russian girlfriend, Natalya, insist the man was left, already dead, on their porch. Suspicious but compelled to help family, Stella tracks down other suspects, including the deceased's business partner, a purveyor of black-market Botox, and a jilted violist. Matters are complicated by the unexpected arrival of BJ Broderson, who has picked the worst possible time to pursue his amorous intentions toward Stella. Meanwhile, thoughts of Sheriff "Goat" Jones make Stella blush and wonder where, and with whom, she will spend her fifty-first birthday.
A Bad Day for Mercy is a terrific addition to this incredibly original and entertaining series. For those who haven't yet discovered the wonder of Sophie Littlefield, it's high time to join the fun!
In Antony Award winner Littlefield's solid fourth crime novel featuring Stella Hardesty (after 2011's A Bad Day for Scandal), Stella leaves Missouri for Wisconsin, where her sister, Gracellen, has received a severed ear in the mail and a $30,000 ransom demand for Gracellen's grown stepson, Chip. Things get even stranger when Stella arrives in Wisconsin and finds Chip, both ears intact, dismembering a body in his house with the help of his Russian girlfriend, Natalya. The pair swear they found the man, Benton Parch, who happens to be Natalya's abusive ex-husband, dead when they got home from the movies; they're only trying to clean up the mess. Chip and Natalya point Stella toward Benton's former business partner, who's angry that his name was left off the patent for a version of Spanx for men that the two invented. And then there's the underground Botox ring to investigate. Littlefield makes sure her feisty heroine has plenty to do.