Sneeze on Sunday

(aka) Murders for Sale

~ A Novel by Andre Norton

Written with Grace Allen Hogarth


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of cover-art for

Sneeze on Sunday

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1992 dustjacket ~

“Sneeze on Sunday
and safety seek,
The devil will have you
the rest of the week"

Fredericka Wing arrived in South Sutton, Massachusetts, a sleepy little New England town, on Sunday, and she hoped the rhyme wouldn't prove true. South Sutton seemed the perfect place to spend a peaceful summertime‘
But where Fredericka had expected a quiet haven where she could write while managing Miss Hartwell's bookstore, she found a town exploding with violence. No sooner had she sneezed than she discovered the first corpse. She almost fell over it where it lay, in the hammock of her own backyard.
Someone had murdered Catherine Clay, an heir to the Sutton family fortune. Another murder soon followed, this time Margie Hartwell, the nervous young assistant at the bookstore. Her death was cruel, slow and painful.
Fredericka couldn‘t help trying to solve the murders. She sensed that someone in the tightknit little town held knowledge so damaging that he—or she—was killing to keep it from coming to light. But who?
The Suttons, powerful and close-mouthed, seemed a dangerous and hostile bunch. Only Phillipine, the niece who ran the family business, showed her any kindness. And few other townsfolk were any friendlier.
With death stalking the streets, what had promised to be a quiet summer was turning into a terrifying ordeal.
Fredericka was befriended by Peter Mohun, a professor at the local college known as the Colonel, who helped her do some sleuthing. Finally Fredericka discovered the murderers real identity, and knew every thing would work out...if she didn't get murdered herself before she could prove what she knew!

 

Write-up from the back of the TOR paperback edition ~

Welcome to South Sutton
Fredericka Wing sought a quiet, peaceful summer in the tiny New England town. But almost from the moment of her arrival she found hostility, suspicion… and murder on her doorstep.
Aside from Colonel Peter Mohun, a professor at the local college, nobody in the tight-knit community would help her try to stop the mysterious killer who slew first the town matriarch and then the unassuming teenager who help Fredericka in Miss Hartwell’s bookstore.
Finally Fredericka thought she knew who was committing the terrible crimes. Now if she could only avoid being the next victim…

 

Write-up from and old Amazon.com posting ~

An old-fashioned and charming mystery set in New England during the early 1950s is the joint production of science fiction/fantasy veteran Norton (the Witch World series) and mystery editor Hogarth. Librarian Fredericka Wing takes a summer job minding a bookstore in South Sutton, Mass., a college town founded by a family whose reduced financial circumstances are now being ameliorated by the nationally known herb farm run by matriarch Margaret Sutton and her niece, Philippine, a chemist rescued from a German concentration camp.
Returning from a church bazaar, Fredericka finds the body of Catherine Clay, nee Sutton, in the bookstore's hammock. James Brewster, the family lawyer and Catherine's potential finance, tries to hush up the police investigation, claiming accidental death, but an autopsy finds poison. As mystery buff Fredericka investigates with the fascinating Peter Mohun, teacher at the college and former military intelligence agent, she must overcome the hostility of the townspeople and the machinations of a teenager who may know more than is good for her.

 

Write-up from a fan ~

"Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for danger;
Sneeze on a Tuesday, kiss a stranger;
Sneeze on Wednesday, sneeze for a letter
Sneeze on a Thursday, something better;
Sneeze on a Friday, sneeze for sorrow;
Sneeze on a Saturday, see your sweet-heart tomorrow.
Sneeze on Sunday, Safety seeker the Devil will have you all the week "

Federicka Wing, librarian leaves New York and travels to South Sutton, Massachusetts. a small New England college town to run a bookstore/Lending library for the owner who has to go to California on family business. She sees the post as an opportunity to work on a book on Victorian Women writers that she was writing. She meets several people, a few she likes immediately and some she can’t stand. Her first Sunday there, she sneezes and vaguely remembers part of a rhyme, “Sneeze on Sunday---“ Now what was that?” A week later, coming back from a town bazaar, she discovers a dead woman in the hammock behind the bookstore. It happened to be one of the people she couldn’t stand and a descendant of the town’s founder. Professor Peter Mohun, a government operative, teams with Federicka to try to solve the mystery of the murder of a woman that nearly everyone hated. Then one of the prime suspects, a disturbed teenage girl, is also murdered, things get complicated. Who can they trust and is Fredericka in any danger? Lots of plot twists. Several interesting characters are possible suspects. How to choose among the many motives? ~ PG

 

KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991
It's 1948, and Fredericka Wing, a librarian from New York, takes a summer job in South Sutton, Mass., running a bookstore and lending library for vacationing Lucy Hartwell. Fredericka's neighbors are the aristocratic Sutton family, who run an herb farm and laboratory overseen by widowed Margaret Sutton's niece Philippine, a French survivor of the Nazi camps. Margaret's high- strung daughter Catherine has returned to the farm after a failed marriage; Roger, a war-damaged son, and Lucy Hartwell's niece Margie help out with farm and lab. Fredericka has scarcely settled in when she discovers Catherine's poisoned corpse in her backyard. With new friend Colonel Peter Mohun and police chief Thane Carey, Fredericka strives heavily to solve Catherine's murder and another in its wake, her own life even at risk in a series of artificial dangers. A lifeless story weighted down with cardboard characters, stiff dialogue, a contrived plot, and a heroine given to the vapors. No fun at all. 

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1992) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-85222-3, 978-0-312-85222-1, LCCN 910036103, $18.95, 246pg ~ cover by Ron Walotsky {Black Paper Boards}
  • (1992) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-51697-4, 978-0-812-51697-5, $4.99, 249pg ~ cover by Ron Walotsky

 

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Non-English Editions ~

  • (1994) Combined with "House of Shadows" ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-859-49034-1, HC 352pg ~ translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Дом теней [House of Shadows]

 

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