GOOD LITTLE WIVES. By Abby Drake. HarperCollins. August 2007. 304 pages. $13.95 softcover.
Good Little Wives is a good little chick-lit read. I read it in a day. Granted, there were no distractions because it was one of those rare I-don’t-feel-very-good-I-think-I’ll-stay-in-bed-all-day days. And Good Little Wives, by Abby Drake, was just what I needed.
Abby Drake is a pen name used by Jean Stone, who set several previous books on the Vineyard. In Good Little Wives she tells an entertaining tale about a group of unsatisfied middle-aged wives — former trophy wives — who live in a supremely upscale suburb of New York city.
Their husbands play a lot of golf and make a lot of money. The women do a lot of ... well, nothing. They don’t cook or clean (they have ‘help’), they don’t raise their children (who are carted off to boarding school), and they most certainly do not work for a living. What four of the women friends do have is dark secrets that might suddenly be uncovered during the investigation of a scandalous murder.
Their complacent lives are jolted when Vincent DeLano winds up dead and his ex-wife Kitty is caught holding a smoking gun. Her four so-called friends had disinherited her the year before when Vincent traded her for a younger, sprightlier wife. Kitty says she didn’t kill him. The four friends struggle with conflicting loyalties — helping an ex-friend in need versus obeying their cash cow husbands, men who were friends with Vincent and want the murder solved quickly and quietly.
Needless to say, nothing is resolved either quickly or quietly. The tale is told with wit and daggers. Here’s how it begins: “It started because of a face lift. A second face lift actually. Caroline Meacham, after all, was now fifty-two, and her first cosmetic surgery had been twelve years ago, a fortieth birthday present from her husband, Jack. Or for him. Dana’s husband had chuckled back then at the thought that one of the trophy wives was beginning to tarnish in visible places.”
The real heart of the story is about how each of the four women reacts to the murder and the resulting tumble of truths and lies. Lie down on the couch, put a pillow under your head and enjoy the ride.