Following Polly

( 13 )

Overview

Would you call Alice Teakle a stalker?  Or just someone with an, um, healthy obsession with golden girl Polly Linley Dawson?  No one much notices Alice: not her boss, not the neighbors, not even her mother. Besides, everyone follows Polly: her business selling high-end lingerie you can only imagine her wearing, her all-over-the-social-pages marriage to movie director Humphrey Dawson, her chic looks, her wardrobe. Alice just follows her a little more….closely.

Yet one ...

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Following Polly: A Novel

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Overview

Would you call Alice Teakle a stalker?  Or just someone with an, um, healthy obsession with golden girl Polly Linley Dawson?  No one much notices Alice: not her boss, not the neighbors, not even her mother. Besides, everyone follows Polly: her business selling high-end lingerie you can only imagine her wearing, her all-over-the-social-pages marriage to movie director Humphrey Dawson, her chic looks, her wardrobe. Alice just follows her a little more….closely.

Yet one Manhattan autumn afternoon, when Alice loses her job and starts to follow Polly, she stumbles on the object of her attention sprawled dead on the floor of a boutique and is forced to become truly invisible. Because she’s accused of murder. But can another obsession help save Alice?  Charlie is Alice’s longtime unattainable crush.  He might be able to help her out of the mess she’s in…in return for a favor or two, that is. But how will Alice find out if Charlie is really the man she thinks he is?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Karen Bergreen’s Following Polly sparkles. It’s got wit and energy, along with fabulous characters to love (and loathe).  A fine first novel: polished, acutely observed, and delightfully mean. What fun!”—Susan Isaacs, author of Close Relations 

“I LOVE this book. It’s funny, original, satisfying and a real page turner. Karen Bergreen has created a lovable heroine who is a bundle of totally unique neuroses. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t wait for the sequel!” —Susie Essman, author of What Would Susie Say?

“Funny, intelligent, accessible.  Following Polly captures what makes Karen one of my favorite comediennes.” –Jim Gaffigan, actor/comedian/writer  

 "Stalking, dysfunctional family, murder and unrequited love—what could be more delightful? It's a great read!"— Joan Rivers, author of Men Are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs

 

"Following Polly is a delicious debut novel.  Murder most foul is most fun, and Alice Teakle is so clever and quirky a protagonist—or is she a perp?—that you won't be able to stop reading.  Bergreen is a wonderful new voice in the mystery world.”—Linda Fairstein, author of Hell Gate

 

“It’s like Comedy Central picked up Law & Order for an episode...combines edgy thrills with a wicked sense of humor and an endearing heart of gold.” —Publishers Weekly

"A laugh-out-loud page turner."—Huffington Post

"Part cozy mystery, part romance, and all parts outrageously funny."—Las Vegas Review

"Following Polly is a murderous romp featuring a clever and gently unhinged protagonist. Author Karen Bergreen, a professional comedian, exercises her comedic skill in creating New Yorker Alice Teakle, a perpetually underemployed (now unemployed), Harvard grad. Alice harbors unresolved resentment toward her former dorm-mate, Polly Linley Dawson, who has developed a wildly lucrative career as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. With time on her hands, Alice takes on the bizarre task of stalking Polly and discovers the usual sexual indiscretions; however, nothing too dramatic occurs—until Polly is murdered, and Alice is named the prime suspect. Alice goes on the lam and seeks to identify the actual murderer. Along the way, she develops an unusual relationship with Charlie, the object of her college fantasies. Despite the screwball nature of this mystery, it works, and memorably so.

Moreover, one of Bergreen’s major strengths as a writer is her ability to create witty repartee. The quick, ever-sarcastic Alice is highly entertaining. Also, Alice has an uncanny ability to navigate various strata of society, from the extraordinarily wealthy to the homeless. Her incredible resourcefulness and ready wit are guaranteed to entertain."—Mystery Scene magazine

Publishers Weekly
It’s like Comedy Central picked up Law & Order for an episode in standup comic and ex-lawyer Bergreen’s breezy debut about a rootless, jobless, and loveless snoop in search of her “lifelong dream.“ Fired from a crappy job with a selfish, nasty casting director, Alice Teakle begins obsessively stalking Harvard frenemy Polly—and winds up the top suspect in her murder. But that’s where the fun begins: slipping out of police custody, Alice begins stalking Charlie, her college-days romantic fantasy who she hopes can save her from prison. Charlie takes her in, forging a deal that he’ll help get her off the murder hook if she helps out with a problem his father’s having. But Charlie and Alice sweetly discover a far deeper need of each other. Bergreen makes good use of her comedic skills and varied professional background to create a sharp whodunit that combines edgy thrills with a wicked sense of humor and an endearing heart of gold. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
In her debut as a novelist, Bergreen attempts a comic murder mystery cum romance about a young woman who comes under suspicion when the semi-celebrity she's been stalking is murdered. Despite her Harvard pedigree, her great looks and a pitch-perfect memory for details that would make her an ideal private eye, 32-year-old Manhattanite Alice is a self-proclaimed sad sack without professional ambition or a love life-she has had a crush on a man she's called Charlie since college even though he doesn't know she exists. Within hours after Alice is fired from her latest job, she begins to follow Polly, a woman she has hated and envied since their student days. Always the golden girl, as well as stereotypical mean girl, Polly is now married to a famous movie director and heads her own wildly successful lingerie company. For weeks Alice trails Polly to various appointments, some obviously trysts, and finally into a boutique dressing room where she finds Polly's dead body. Soon Alice is a suspect on the lam. In desperation she turns to Charlie (real name Walter) whom she has seen in a restaurant talking to one of the policemen on her trail. A lawyer, Charlie/Walter has been trying to clear his father's name after a scandal. With his legal and her instigative skills, they work together to prove that both innocent parties are blameless. It's no surprise when romance blooms. Meanwhile, the murderer strikes again, killing Alice's former boss, a casting director deeply involved in the movie Polly's husband has been directing. The author loads her story with a jarring mix of comic and melodramatic details, from Alice's blind date with Walter/Charlie's father to her life among the homeless to the dated, bordering on homophobic, motive given to the murderer. Although Bergreen is a professional comedian, the humor falls flat while the mystery lacks punch because neither the characters nor the author seem to take it seriously.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312573584
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,458,532
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Bergreen

KAREN BERGREEN is a stand-up comedian and former lawyer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Quirky Characters, Fun Read!

    This book was a great summer read. I started it while on vacation and finished reading it in the car on the way home. Normally I can only read for a little while in the car, before I either get restless or a headache - but not with this book - I read it right through to the end of the book!

    Alice has lost her job and is just sort of floating, not really sure where she wants to land, when she sees Polly Dawson. Polly is sort of her long-time nemesis from college - the one who always had everything, perfect looks, perfect clothes, perfect life, etc, so she decides to follow her. Before she knows it, it has become an everyday obsession. She probably knows more about where Polly goes than even her husband! And Polly never notices her. Unfortunately, it seems someone else has and she becomes framed for Polly's murder.

    Alice goes into hiding, sort of. She camps outside of her college crush's apartment (he is/was a lawyer). He eventually confronts her, not remembering her from college, and for some reason believes her story and takes her in. He has his own ulterior motives for helping her.

    There are a couple of mysteries happening - first off is the obvious - who killed Polly and framed Alice - and the second is what's up with Charlie's father and will Alice be able to help Charlie find out the truth?

    There is alot of humor in this story. It is kind of a dry humor in face of the dire situation that Alice is facing. I especially liked this part - Alice has asked that Charlie get in touch with her best friend, Jean, to let her know that she is okay.


    "Hi, Jean. I don't know if you remember me. My name is Walter Redwin. We went to Harvard Law School together."


    Jean pauses for a second. I know that she's dying to get in touch with me to tell me that my Charlie called her.


    This is where Charlie's part gets tricky.


    "You may know me as Charlie."


    Now, I know you may be wondering how I managed to get Charlie to identify himself by his crush-name.


    "Just introduce yourself to her on the phone," I instructed him casually just minutes ago. "And then tell her that she may know you as Charlie."


    "Why Charlie?"


    "Oh, it's this thing with me and Jean."


    "What kind of thing?"


    A thing where I made up a name for you when I decided to become obsessed with you.


    "I promise I will tell you the second I get out of trouble." Curiosity is a great motivator. (p148-149, Following Polly)


    Now maybe you need to read more of the story to appreciate it, but Alice's character is definitely quirky. But it is a good quirky. During the story you get to see her grow and to embrace who she really is. There are a couple of twists at the end, but one I definitely did not see coming. The book wrapped up nicely. I will definitely be watching for another book by Karen Bergreen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very fun - recommended!

    Karen Bergreen's first novel, Following Polly, is a fun, fun, fun read! The affable main character, Alice Teakle, is like an American Bridgette Jone's - stealthily stumbling from following to stalking to running and beyond - with the best friends a girl could have and her own unique look at life. A quirky chick lit novel with a mystery twist thrown in - highly recommended for passing time in an enjoyable way!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review

    First let me give a shoutout to LibraryThing - this was my very first Early Reviewers win.

    The cover is...well I guess vibrant is the word that comes to mind. I really wanted to read it based on that alone. Honest, I didn't have a clue what it was about.

    The story starts with Alice just after she got fired as from her job working with a Casting director Mona Hawkins - who was a horrible human being. She stops to get some comfort food and runs into a woman she knew in college - Polly Dawson. Polly is now married to the Director of the movie Alice was helping Mona cast. Polly doesn't notice Alice, as if she were invisible. Alice starts following Polly, mostly nosy and something to do.

    Things take a turn when Polly turns up dead and Alice is the #1 suspect. She goes into hiding and starts stalking Charlie, another person she knew from college - this one she had a crush on. Charlie discovers her, invites her into his home and life. He will help her clear her name, and she will help clear his father.

    There are a couple of mysteries in this book, and they keep you guessing right until the end. The characters are lively and realistic. I love how Karen Begreen describes Charlie's house with the clutter...and that Alice finds it endearing. I also enjoyed Alice's tv habit...finally, not pretending that we don't all watch way too much tv. lol

    I couldn't put this down, so if you can get a copy to read for yourself. It's in hardcover and e-versions right now, but it will be released in paperback on August 16. Happy reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    One of the funniest whodunits in ages!

    I absolutely loved this novel. It's written with such intelligence, wit and humor. If you walk away from this book without loving Alice Treakle, you probably have no heart. I was rooting for her through every page, even in her weird, stalky days. And Alice and Charlie have got to be one of the cutest couples in a book in a long time. Do yourself a favor and get this book, you won't be sorry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    loved it!

    it started a bit slowly, but i got really involved. it was a great rainy-day read, i really enjoyed the offbeat plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2010

    Quirky, touching, a murder mystery with emotional healing

    Alice is an endearing character, reminiscent of a noncynical Holden Caulfield. She feels much younger than her age, but then we get to see her grow up. I read this book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to the next novel by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Very entertaining

    Got this book at dollar store - what a bargain! It is funny and original and a quick read. I highly recommend it!

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    Posted September 30, 2011

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