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The Cradle Robbers

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Overview

The new Mommy Track Mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder Plays House.

Ayelet Waldman's one-of-kind sleuth tracks the mysterious whereabouts of a missing infant to a widespread, top-secret puzzle that's nothing to play with.

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Overview

The new Mommy Track Mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder Plays House.

Ayelet Waldman's one-of-kind sleuth tracks the mysterious whereabouts of a missing infant to a widespread, top-secret puzzle that's nothing to play with.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
In The Cradle Robbers, the sixth Mommy-Track mystery featuring a lovable defense attorney turned stay-at-home mom and part-time detective, Juliet Applebaum is faced with her most heartrending case yet: a mother whose newborn baby has been stolen.

When Juliet hears from her office assistant a story about an incarcerated woman whose infant son has been allegedly kidnapped by a questionable foster care agency, her conscience tells her to investigate even though her potential client is penniless, serving a lengthy prison term, and a recovering drug addict. After talking with the imprisoned mother, Sandra Lorgeree, Juliet -- with her four-month-old daughter, Sadie, in tow -- begins to sort out the woman's shadowy past. It turns out that Sandra's drug-addicted boyfriend belongs to a prominent San Francisco family that has essentially excommunicated him. When Sandra is suddenly stabbed to death in prison, Juliet vows to find the cradle robbers…

Besides the witty titles, Waldman's Mommy-Track novels (Nursery Crimes, The Big Nap, A Playdate with Death, et al.) are remarkable in large part because of their protagonist's utter authenticity. Yes, married couples with kids struggle with intimacy issues. Yes, working mothers all over the world have to deal with sleep deprivation, dirty diapers, breast pumps, spittle on their work clothes, daycare, etc. And that's why these novels are so utterly readable: Anyone with children will be able to relate to Juliet and her daily dilemmas. Throw in some great whodunit plotlines and you've got yourself a truly entertaining mystery series -- baby wipes and sippy cups not included. Paul Goat Allen
Marilyn Stasio
Juliet's smart sleuthing exposes some ugly truths about the parental rights of women in prison, but the way she maintains her sense of humor while juggling detective chores and baby duty is awesome.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Juliet Applebaum, ex-public defender and "self-employed mother," juggles the demands of her oversized four-month-old daughter and a case involving a female prisoner in her engrossing sixth outing (after 2004's Murder Plays House). Sandra Lorgeree, an inmate of California's isolated Dartmore prison, has surrendered her baby to foster care only to discover that the baby and the foster parents have disappeared. When Sandra is brutally murdered, Juliet is convinced that her death is not just the result of prison violence. While sleep-deprived Juliet schleps through L.A. and Northern California in search of the truth and Sandra's missing baby, her husband deals with his own legal problems, making for a less than blissful existence at their quirky home in the Hollywood hills. Waldman, herself a former public defender, vividly portrays life on the street and behind prison walls. Human and credible characters-in particular, a smart, sensitive sleuth-lift a mystery that should delight committed fans and attract new ones. Agent, Mary Evans. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Just what p.i. Juliet Applebaum needed to make her Mommy-Track Mystery series (Murder Plays House, 2004, etc.) complete: a pair of babies. Sandra Lorgeree has not seen her son since the day he was born. In California, prisoners lose their parental rights if they can't arrange custody of their children within six months. Sandra's sentence for heroin possession runs 15 months, much too long for her to reclaim Noah. So she's left him with the Lambs of the Lord, an agency that places children in temporary foster care until their parents can care for them. But there's a problem: A foster family from the Lambs has simply made off with Noah, and Sandra is frantic to find out what's become of him. The night Juliet agrees to help Sandra, Sandra is killed by an inmate. Now Juliet must track down Noah herself. With her four-month-old, Sadie, attached at the hip, Juliet investigates, leaving a trail of milk and diapers in her wake. Juliet negotiates each dead end with her customary humor and grace. But beneath her dependably tart mommy-track wisecracks is her saddest case yet.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425206171
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/5/2006
  • Series: Mommy-track Series , #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 811,271
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.82 (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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fabulous investigative tale

    Juliet Applebaum knows that her spouse Peter Wyeth is becoming impatient as she keeps putting him off sex. Juliet is still recovering from giving birth and breast feeding her third child, the off the scales Sadie. The former Los Angeles Public Defender has two other young children to cope with, but returns to work at the investigative firm she co-owns with former cop Al Hockey................ Dartmore State Prison convict Sandra Lorgoree hires Julie and Al to learn what happened to her two years old child who vanished along with his foster parents. As the two sleuths start their investigation, someone kills Sandra. The prison concludes that it is a sad lockdown murder, but Juliet thinks otherwise. Instead of giving up the case since her client is dead, Juliet increases her efforts feeling she owes it to Sandra. However, the mother of three might have reconsidered her dedication if she knew how deadly her wealthy adversaries are................. The latest Mommy Track Mystery is a terrific tale because of Juliet who struggles with the case and her personal life. Her youngest infant seems to think she is a 24/7 milk truck; her spouse loves sex with her but she wonders if he is cheating as she deflects his needs; and the investigation that takes a dangerous conspiratorial life of its own. Ayelet Waldman provides a fabulous investigative tale that contrasts the heavy crimes with the heroine¿s home life............... Harriet Klausner

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