Bye-Bye, Black Sheep

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Overview

A new arrival in the bestselling mystery series.

Private Investigators Juliet Applebaum and Al Hockey finally have a steady stream of clients coming through their garage-turned-office. But they'll realize it's no child's play tracking down the killer of a gorgeous transsexual's sister.

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Overview

A new arrival in the bestselling mystery series.

Private Investigators Juliet Applebaum and Al Hockey finally have a steady stream of clients coming through their garage-turned-office. But they'll realize it's no child's play tracking down the killer of a gorgeous transsexual's sister.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Juliet Applebaum, a PI and mother of three. continues her balancing act in Waldman's smart seventh Mommy-Track mystery (after 2005's The Cradle Robbers). When Heavenly, an African-American transvestite, shows up in tears at the office Juliet shares with her partner, ex-cop Al Hockey, the sassy, bighearted former public defender commits to tracking down the murderer of Heavenly's sister, Violetta, a drug addict and prostitute whose death has been ignored by the LAPD. The case takes Juliet from the privileged comfort of her home in the Hollywood Hills to the projects of South Central, where she interviews Violetta's family and streetwalker colleagues, all of whom are depicted with compassion. Juliet works methodically through her list of suspects-"Tricks, Boyfriends, Coworkers, Family"-until arriving at the sad answer to Violetta's demise. Whether scrambling for child care or bribing pimps, Juliet is resourceful, and her humor shines through in this brisk, thoroughly readable tale. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Mommy meets working girls. Juliet Applebaum, wife of a schlockmeister L.A. screenwriter, mother of three and part-time partner in the p.i. agency former cop Al Hockey runs out of his garage, barely gulps when she surveys her new client's vibrant green eye shadow and nail polish and full-fashioned wig, not to mention her six-foot-plus frame. Miss Heavenly, a former he, wants to know who killed her sister Violetta. So what if she was an addict and a Figueroa Street hooker? She's been dead six months, the cops haven't a clue, and her poor mother's heart is breaking. Juliet carpools her kids, then heads for Figueroa, where, with the permission of Baby Richard, the pimp loitering at the taco stand, she buys coffee and buns for his girls and learns Violetta was not the only one killed, probably by the same man. Juliet rushes off to the detective in charge of cold cases. Meanwhile, another pimp crosses Juliet's path, and she sinks much of her babysitting budget into coffees for the working girls. Turning to Violetta's family for insight, she discovers that Violetta shot up the money supposed to finance her rehab and came on to her own brothers, even Heavenly, before he changed over. But did it all add up to murder?Though Juliet (The Cradle Robbers, 2005, etc.) is still adorable, Waldman has bouts of preachiness better suited to the op-ed page than a mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425210185
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Series: Mommy-Track Mysteries Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman currently lives with her writer-husband Michael Chabon and four children.

Biography

Some writers make it all look too easy. Take Ayelet Waldman, for example. The first novel she ever wrote -- heck, the first piece of creative writing she ever attempted -- was not only published, but it launched the successful Mommy-Track mystery series. Six years and eight novels later, Waldman is still wowing fans and critics alike while occasionally moving into more serious territory.

Waldman is most famous for her witty Mommy-Track mysteries, which follow the adventures of Juliet Applebaum. Like her creator, Juliet Applebaum is a former-public defender now playing the role of stay-at-home mom Unlike Waldman, Juliet breaks up her days of parenting with a little amateur sleuthing on the side. Waldman explained the origin of her beloved series during an interview at UC Berkley in 2004. "They grew out of this period in my life when I had left the public defender's office and I was staying home; I started writing them to keep myself entertained."

The novel that Waldman essentially wrote on a self-entertaining lark -- Nursery Crimes -- became the first in a series of lighthearted mysteries that clearly struck a chord among the writer's peers. "I think they kind of hit the market at a time that there were a lot of women like me," Waldman explained. "A lot of ex-lawyers, ex-doctors, ex-CEOs of companies who were finding themselves straight from the boardroom to the sandbox and kind of going crazy, so there was a ready audience for people who were not necessarily all that fulfilled by making homemade play-dough, but nonetheless realized where they were gonna be for the next couple of years."

After the initial four books in the Mommy-Track series (which included such tongue-in-cheek titles as The Big Nap and A Playdate With Death), Waldman decided to use her newfound literary success as an opportunity to try her hand at a non-series novel. "The more I wrote," she said, "the more I realized that [writing] was something that I really loved to do and I wanted to do more with it. I wanted to grow as a writer and I wanted to start writing more serious fiction." Daughter's Keeper, a tale that sheds some critical light on the War on Drugs, revealed that she was more than capable of handling heavier subject matter. As Publishers Weekly noted: "Waldman's passion and affection for her characters shines through."

Having broken into a new realm of writing, Waldman then delivered two more installments in the Juliet Applebaum adventures before penning her second non-series novel. Like all of her previous works, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits addresses Waldman's favorite subject, motherhood, but this time around she also touches on the grittier issues of grief and death. Once again, Waldman's foray outside of her popular series has proved a resounding success. In Chelsea Cain's laudatory review in The New York Times, she described Love and Other Impossible Pursuits as "a romantic, shocking and sometimes painful page-turner does the unthinkable: it actually says something new and interesting about women, families and love."

While more Mommy-Track mysteries are likely on the way from the prolific Waldman, the side roads she has taken thus far confirm that she is a writer willing to defy expectations.

In addition...
Waldman is also noted for the controversy that followed the publication of her 2005 essay "Motherlove." The essay, first published in the anthology Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race and Themselves, sparked a heated national debate about the nature of love, marriage, and motherhood.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Waldman:

"My children are my inspiration. I write about mothers, and about maternal ambivalence. No matter what I set out to do, it seems, I end up writing about that. My four kids have veto power on anything I write about them, but the only time it's ever been exercised is when my eight-year-old told me never to write about breastfeeding him ever again, as long as he and I both walked the earth."

"My husband and I both edit one another's work. Nothing leaves the house that the other hasn't gone over with a fine-toothed comb.

"Nursery Crimes, my first murder mystery, was the first piece of fiction -- the first piece of creative writing -- I ever did.

"I have no hobbies, other than reading. I love to read, and on my web site I keep a log of every book I read, along with a few words about the book and about what I thought. Check it out at www.ayeletwaldman.com

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    1. Hometown:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 11, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Jerusalem, Israel
    1. Education:
      Wesleyan University, 1986; Harvard Law School, 1991
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2006

    superb Mommy-Track Mystery

    In Los Angeles private investigator Juliet Applebaum and her spouse screenwriter Peter raise three small children Ruby, Isaac, and Sadie. As Peter has met some recent success with classics like The Cannibals Vacation and Flesh Eaters with its nth number of sequels, Juliet and her sleuthing partner Al Hockey have actually begun to turn a profit. --- Due to the eighty-four minutes of maternal bliss known as The Lion King, Juliet with only Sadie stops at the garage turned office where Al introduces her to their newest client, gorgeous Miss Heavenly, who the sleuth realizes is a transvestite. After dumping Sadie on Al¿s wife, Juliet asks Miss Heavenly what can she do for her? Heavenly explains her cousin Sister Pauline sent her to hire the detective to look into the homicide of her sister Violetta Spees, a drug addict hooker, killed six months ago as the police have done nothing. Though she and Al prefer to avoid homicides as they do not have the proper equipment or crime scene information to conduct that type of investigation, she agrees to see LAPD lead detective Jarin and make inquiries not realizing how depressingly personal the case becomes. --- The seventh Mommy-Track Mystery is a wonderful private investigative tale that contains an eccentric delightful support cast including Heavenly and her family and of course the three kids. The story line is fast-paced even the interludes with Ruby, Isaac, and Sadie, each making demands on their mommy the sleuth. The case is terrific as Juliet begins to piece together what most likely went down, but cannot fully prove what she believes happened to Violetta. Ayelet Waldman provides a wonderful tale as her heroine has several issues to decide once the inquiry begins to focus. --- Harriet Klausner

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