4.8 7
by Hannan

View All Available Formats & Editions

Missy is laudanum, or liquid opium. Missy is Dol McQueen, a nineteen-year-old “flash-girl” traveling the arduous wagon trail from San Francisco to the boomtowns of the Sierra Nevada. Her purpose: to fleece the silver miners and to have a marvelous time.

Permanently gonged on missy, Dol and her entrepreneurial instincts wake up only when she

…  See more details below


Missy is laudanum, or liquid opium. Missy is Dol McQueen, a nineteen-year-old “flash-girl” traveling the arduous wagon trail from San Francisco to the boomtowns of the Sierra Nevada. Her purpose: to fleece the silver miners and to have a marvelous time.

Permanently gonged on missy, Dol and her entrepreneurial instincts wake up only when she comes into possession of a rum crate full of pure opium. But the crate has several owners, each more brutal than the last. Soon, instead of selling the boodle and opening her own establishment, Dol is fleeing across the salt flats and wastelands of the monumental American Southwest, where Civil War renegades, Native American mule thieves, and gangs of feral kids make hanging on to life a job for both hands.

Chris Hannan has mixed the irresistible Mark Twain of Roughing It with Annie Proulx’s brilliantly macabre wordplay, and the result is a historical novel of startling originality, in which every detail rings true. Dol McQueen is the most engaging antiheroine since Becky Sharp, and she makes Missy a debut of terrific energy, freshness, and delight.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This wildly entertaining first novel from Scottish playwright Hannan takes place in the down and dirty Wild West and features one of the most bombastic, fantastic heroines in recent memory. Nineteen-year-old Dol McQueen is an intelligent, strong-willed hooker with a weakness for liquid opium, or "missy." "Sometimes when I'm gonged," says Dol, "I have an immense feeling inside me that I can govern Chaos." And chaos is just what she gets when a crate of choice opium lands under her bed, stashed there by a grisly pimp called Pontius who warns her to keep quiet. Dol carries on with her business and gets increasingly attached to that fortune beneath her bed. The real pandemonium is unleashed when a spooky, brutal gang enlisted by the rightful owners of the opium arrives in town bringing mayhem. Dol-along with her mother, Pontius and the opium-flees into the desert, the escape slowed by lack of water, mule-pinching Indians and Dol's withdrawal from her missy, an experience that leaves her clearheaded but vulnerable to the truth about what she has become. Hannan nails the setting, crafts a sizzling plot and, with Dol, gives readers a lovable, larger-than-life star. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This debut novel from Scottish playwright Hannan traverses the 19th-century American Southwest, a setting colorfully filled with opium smugglers, mule thieves, natives, and Civil War stragglers. Dropped in the center of the action is Dol McQueen, a brassy teenage prostitute struggling to hang on to a fortune in stolen opium. Hannan writes this character with impeccable style, crafting a vivid portrait whose emotional notes ring true. One cannot help but root for Dol as she withdraws onto the wagon trail, her pursuers ever near. This is a fantastic debut novel suitable for all public and academic libraries.
—Christopher Bussmann

Kirkus Reviews
A feisty 19-year-old prostitute narrates, and dominates, Scottish playwright Hannan's adventurous first novel: a tale of America's Wild West during the late-19th-century Silver Rush. Pert, forthright Dol McQueen is one of the "flash-girls" who forsake the fleshpots of San Francisco to ply their trade in Nevada's Virginia City, where men are rumored to be newly rich and ripe for plucking. En route, Dol is herself seduced by a blissful hit of liquid opium, illicitly acquired by a pimp named Pontius, who impulsively entrusts his stash to Dol for safekeeping. But Virginia City is no Shangri-La. Dol's ingenuous and hard-bitten colleagues (hopeful Ness, depressive Cordelia, been-there-done-that Sadie et al.) keep falling for the wrong men (as does Dol herself, temporarily smitten with a one-armed, inconveniently married police chief). Gangs of hired thugs keep materializing, engaged to retrieve the fugitive opium and return it to the Chinese gang boss from whom Pontius stole it. (The efforts of Dol and her cohorts to elude their pursuers suggest a black-comic gloss on Cormac McCarthy's doom-laden No Country for Old Men.) And there is the problem of Dol's mother Isobel, a veteran hooker with a history of misbehavior that ought to have earned her a lifetime sexual license, and has produced an impressive number of gullible husbands ("Mama's a pentagamist," Dol sagely observes). Hannan evokes the rough-and-ready period in blistering detail, and creates a vivid gallery of misfits and eccentrics (the incorrigible Pontius is a particularly engaging slimeball). But his novel lives in the irresistible person and voice of Dol, a girl who knows her own weaknesses, and her worth (" . . . we generally earnmore per diem than a senator, and our reputations are less spotted in the eyes of the public"). A rib-tickling picaresque romp with a heart of gold that even a hellfire-and-damnation preacher would warm to. Don't miss it.

Read More

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Missy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone know when shes choosing the girls and how many shes picking?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is kate. I am wearing a pink tank-top, short shorts, and pink flip flops with a heel. My hair is pulled back int a messy ponytail that is cute. L the boys stare at her i astonishment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love horses and i am wearing black tanktop with black booty shorts black hels long hair pulled up in two braids that are small and tie in the back like a crown. The rest of her hair is down. She is wearing lip gloss and purple eyeshadow :) hi skyheart/ madison
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No one yet. The judging hasn't even begun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Long black hair blue eyes white skin curves. Pink ruffle shirt with blue jeaan skirt and pink wedges. I live in texas. Luv to shop and hang out. Hate mayo olives and baloney. White bathing suit and long shiny white dress that ties at the back of the neck.