The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb, internationally acclaimed for the "quiet fire"* of her Appalachian Ballad novels, clearly has a dark side--a wicked, sardonic wit that has prompted critics to compare her to Jane Austen and Jonathan Swift.

Readers and reviewers alike also have lauded Ms. McCrumb for her inspired chronicles of forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. In her newest tale in the MacPherson saga, McCrumb examines society's ...
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The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel

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Overview

Bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb, internationally acclaimed for the "quiet fire"* of her Appalachian Ballad novels, clearly has a dark side--a wicked, sardonic wit that has prompted critics to compare her to Jane Austen and Jonathan Swift.

Readers and reviewers alike also have lauded Ms. McCrumb for her inspired chronicles of forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. In her newest tale in the MacPherson saga, McCrumb examines society's fascination with beauty--and the deceptiveness of outer appearances. Elizabeth herself, hospitalized for depression over her missing husband, learns that insanity liberates one from polite hypocrisy, enabling a "crazy lady" to remark: "Anorexia is not a disease; it's a career move."

Out in the real world, Elizabeth's brother Bill has bought a stately old mansion to use as his law office, only to find that the house comes with a charming codger-in-residence who is far too old to be a dangerous outlaw. . . isn't he? Meanwhile, the steel magnolia who is Bill's law partner is trying to track down the PMS Outlaws--an escaped convict and her fugitive attorney--who are cruising pickup joints and wreaking a peculiar vengeance on lust-crazed men.

Sharyn McCrumb's incisive wit and her genius for mirroring everyday life are once again on full display. The PMS Outlaws is an outrageous parable of modern mores, where beauty is the weapon, and nobody is safe.

*The New York Times Book Review


From the Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
While Elizabeth MacPherson and her brother Bill deal with personal problems, Bill's law partner sets out alone to track down two fearsome femmes.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This mild-mannered mystery, number nine in the Elizabeth MacPherson series from versatile writer McCrumb (Bimboes of the Death Sun; If I'd Killed Him When I Met Him), is a humorous, fast-paced story. When we join MacPherson, she has just checked into the Cherry Hill Psychiatric Hospital to deal with depression brought on by the death of her husband. Meanwhile, struggling Virginia lawyer Bill MacPherson, Elizabeth's brother, has purchased an old mansion for his law firm's upscale office. The mansion comes with a catch: the elderly man who originally built the house (with apparently dubious funds) is still living on the sun porch. As Bill works out the real estate deal, his law partner, A.P. Powell, disappears to chase clues about the newly infamous PMS Outlaws, who have been stealing money from men and leaving them handcuffed in compromising positions. While the novel's many eccentric characters never fail to entertain, the mystery of the old man is little more than a distraction, both for the reader and for Elizabeth. As for the PMS Outlaws, they are completely transparent in their motivations: they want to get money and cut men down to size. What keeps the pages turning is the desire to see Elizabeth and Powell find their way out of their obsessions and back to their respective lives. McCrumb's gift is for making us care whether they do. Mystery Guild main selection; 6-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson (MacPherson's Lament, Missing Susan), who has voluntarily committed herself to a mental hospital following the disappearance of her husband at sea, returns in McCrumb's new mystery. Elizabeth discovers that one of her fellow mental patients has some criminal connection to the aged resident of the building that her lawyer brother has just bought. (First implausibility: would a lawyer buy an office building that had an elderly man living on the back porch?) The brother's uptight law partner is being stalked, for no apparent reason, by the title characters, an acquaintance from Elizabeth's law school days and the client she has sprung from prison. The two women casually cruise bars around the South while on their way to freedom in Canada, robbing men and leaving them hog-tied in embarrassing situations. (Second implausibility: why aren't they in a rush to get to Canada?) The outlaw plot line and the elderly criminals' plot line eventually come close to converging in an unfulfilling and anticlimactic ending in which the PMS Outlaws don't actually make an appearance. The none-too-exciting denouement is revealed only in conversation by the other characters. Recommended only for libraries with all-inclusive mystery collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/00.]--Lisa Bier, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Ctr., CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307800886
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/20/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 163,180
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Sharyn McCrumb
Sharyn McCrumb is a New York Times bestselling author whose work has been cited for "Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature."  She has received the Chaffin and Plattner Awards for Southern fiction, two Best Appalachian Novel awards, and many other honors.  She launched her acclaimed Appalachian Ballad novel series with If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O.

Sharyn McCrumb has been writer-in-residence at King College (Tennessee) and Shepherd College (West Virginia), and she has lectured on her work at universities and libraries throughout the United States and Europe.  She lives and writes in the Virginia Blue Ridge.


From the Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1 ~ If he stayed chained naked to this post much longer, there just wouldn’t be any afterward to the foreplay.

Randy Templeton shivered in the soft darkness, wondering whether the girls would think him ungrateful if he called out to hurry them along. It was damp and nearly dark in the basement of the Lonesome Rose Bar, but mostly it was cold. People could say what they wanted to about extra body fat; the spare tire around his middle wasn’t doing a thing to keep him warm. He hated to think what shape he’d be in without it.

Whoever had air-conditioned the roadhouse had made a pitiful job of it, too. The barroom itself was hotter than a hubcap in August, while down here beneath, it felt like penguin heaven. If it weren’t so dark, he could probably see his breath. He wondered if the girls would mind the cold. He could suggest someplace more comfortable, but he didn’t want to ruin the spontaneity of the occasion. Besides, he wasn’t sure that motels in his price range took postdated checks.

Randy hoped there weren’t any rats around. He had seen a horror movie once where a guy was chained in a dungeon someplace, and rats had come out and started gnawing on his toes. Just thinking about it made him shiver even more than he already had been. He’d never hear rats over the thump of the juke- box from above. At least he had kept his boots on. He wriggled his wrists in the handcuffs, thinking they must be trick cuffs from a store that specialized in magic items and practical jokes, but the steel bands remained firmly shut, yielding no hidden catch. His fingers were beginning to feel numb. Real handcuffs . . . his mind shied away from any more speculation on this point. What with the cold and all, he was having a hard enough time maintaining the mood without going into philosophical suppositions about sexy and gorgeous chicks who carried regulation handcuffs.

Where were those two girls, anyhow? They said they’d gone off to slip into something leather and scanty, but he didn’t hear any giggles around the corner. The jukebox again, probably. Its bass notes were rolling across the floor above him in a tidal wave of noise. What were those girls’ names again? He couldn’t quite remember. Maybe he should just stick to calling them “Honey” and “Darlin’ ”—women were so touchy about things like proper names. He didn’t want to spoil the evening, which was the most exciting thing that had happened to him since he’d got one of the lucky bottle caps in the drink machine at the plant and won a hundred bucks just in time to make a car payment.

He couldn’t believe his luck this time. He’d stopped in at the roadhouse after work for a quick one (by which he meant a drink), and before he could say “Colorado Kool-Aid” (by which he meant Coors), two good-looking women in jean shorts and halter tops had come up to him, one on each side, smiling up at him, until he began to wonder who they had mistaken him for. People did say he looked a little like Randy Travis in the right light—if he sucked in his gut and combed his hair forward over his bald spot.

He thought the game would be up when he told them his name. He said, “I’m Randy . . .” and for a few seconds he thought about saying, “. . . Travis,” but nervousness impaired his fluency in lying, and he had blurted out “Templeton,” the only word in his otherwise empty brain. They just kept smiling, as if they weren’t disappointed at all. Then they started making small talk, only instead of yelling loud enough to be heard over the music, they had whispered up close in his ear, until their tongues almost touched his earlobes. It warmed him up just thinking about it. He had made a few gallant remarks about how the two of them were prettier than . . . something or other. . . . He couldn’t quite remember what he had said, but it must have been good, because they had smiled knowingly at him and edged in even closer.

But there were two of them. One part of his mind kept waiting for them to ask him if he had a friend, while his remaining brain cells tried to choose which one he wanted and then decide how to get her away from her companion. One of them was a wiry-looking blonde who looked like she played softball or rode horses—a real tomboy; the other one was a top-heavy Miss America type, just shy of being plump, but with the few extra pounds distributed in some wonderful places. What were their names? They were pretty all right, but they weren’t the usual sort of girl that you saw in the Lonesome Rose. They talked like schoolteachers, now that he thought about it: all carefully pronounced words, with proper English as far as he could tell, and not much drawl in their voices. Maybe they were schoolteachers. Maybe those X-rated skin flicks he checked out from the Video Mart & Tanning Parlor, with titles like Lessons in Lust and Sex Ed at Honey High, were documentaries.

At that point in the conversation, Randy had been thinking that he could star in a skin flick called Horny Zombie in Deep Shock, when those two gorgeous creatures made it clear that he didn’t have to choose between them. He could have them both. They worked as a team, they said. Well, hot damn.

He had allowed himself to be led to the basement by these two whispering playmates, and his brain had pretty much been in neutral, while the rest of him was going into overdrive. While he was still speechless with astonishment, “Honey” and “Darlin’ ” had whispered intoxicating promises in his ear, and working in tandem they divested him of his clothes before he even had time to think about it.

“If you’ll put on these handcuffs, Sugar, we can have a real party,” said the wiry blonde.

“Like nothing you ever felt before,” cooed the plump Miss America.

Speechless with lust and anticipation, he had made a gurgling sound in his throat and held up his wrists, eager for the games to begin.

That had been . . . oh . . . fifteen minutes ago. The chill of the darkened basement and the fear of creepy-crawly things he could not see had taken the edge off his eagerness for erotic games, but he was sure that the reappearance of those two luscious beauties would revive him again. Where were they, anyhow? He gave a tug on his handcuffs, but they held as tightly as ever.

“Hello, darlin’?” he called out tentatively into the darkness. Then he tried to cover his nervousness by making a joke of it. “That wasn’t a Conway Twitty imitation,” he said. “But it has been a long time. Are y’all about ready?”

There was no answer. The rumble of the jukebox continued uninterrupted above him.

“Sweet thangs?” he called out, a little louder now. “Are you coming? I’m handcuffed naked to this post here.”

A few minutes later, the silence had so unnerved him that he knelt down and picked up a discarded curtain rod to try to reach for his clothes. He distinctly remembered seeing one of the girls fold his clothes neatly and place them in the corner. After many minutes of futile prodding with the curtain rod in the dark corner, he had to face the unpleasant fact that his clothes and his wallet were gone.

Upstairs on the jukebox, the thunder of drumbeats had subsided, and, as if in mockery of his predicament, Randy distinctly heard Ernest Tubb’s voice crooning “I’m Walking the Floor over You.”


From the Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2003

    No resolution

    McCrumb has wonderful writing, but in this one I was disappointed that there was no resolution to the story. It just ended abruptly, leaving many questions.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    McCrumb excells at satirical mysteries

    Forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson may have solved several mysteries, but the disappearance of her spouse, allegedly drowned in the North Sea, proves too much for her. Unable to cope with her depression, Elizabeth checks herself into her family¿s personal motel, the Cherry Hill Psychiatric Hospital. <P> At about the same time as Elizabeth¿s mind unravels, her brother Bill¿s legal partner A.P. Hill (a lawyer, not the reserve post) tries to stop the PMS OUTLAWS. The two female criminals, an escaped con and her lawyer, are becoming renowned throughout Appalachia for incarcerating naked, horny males to various plumbing accessories. Everyone converges on the new law office of Bill and A.P., where already resides a nonagenarian former FBI fugitive. No one except those who read the novel will ever know the zany outcome. <P> THE PMS OUTLAWS is a mixing of the Marx Brothers at the Opera with Thelma and Louise. The story line is extremely humorous with a biting undercurrent that impels the audience to look at social issues. The tale works on all levels because the entire cast from Elizabeth to the lawyers to the female ¿thugs¿ to their victims all seem genuine. Best-selling, award winning Sharyn McCrumb is at her witty best with this great satire. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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