Frederica is overstressed, overworked and underpaid. She lands in idyllic Carson’s Bluff sick after eight weeks on the road. The high-flyer is forced to stick close to Carson’s Bluff—and its mayor and sheriff, Jack Sutter—while she recovers. Life is sweet and stress-free in Carson’s Bluff and its citizens want to keep it that way. After a week in the town, and a week in Jack’s company, so does Frederica.
A heartless multinational conglomerate is working to wipe out the relaxed way of life in Carson’s Bluff. Pity the conglomerate is owned by Frederica’s uncle. Pity she’s the person spearheading the campaign to take over the town. Pity her adversary is Jack Sutter.
Frederica enters into a high-stakes game of chance against her uncle to preserve Carson’s Bluff’s way of life—and her own happiness.
Note: This book has been published previously elsewhere as BERNADETTE’S BLUFF.
Read an Excerpt
Notice tacked on oak tree in front of City Hall, Carson’s Bluff
I think we’re in deepest shit. Outside forces are moving in. We’re calling a town meeting for the day after tomorrow in the courthouse at 7:00 p.m. We want everyone to be there. AND THAT MEANS YOU!!
Minutes of town caucus, Carson’s Bluff, May 23rd
Meeting began at 7:00 p.m. The meeting was called to order by Mayor J. A. Sutter. 1,378 people were present, holding 2,390 proxies, for a total of 3,768. The population of greater Carson’s Bluff being 2,682, the validity of proxies will be checked at a later date, when people (that means you, Lester) sober up.
Mayor Sutter informed the citizenry that Mansion Enterprises, a San Francisco-based hotel chain, has expressed interest in Harry’s Folly. The property has back taxes of more than $100,000 and is therefore, according to California state law, up for public auction.
It being the informed opinion of Mayor J. A. Sutter, Sheriff J. A. Sutter, Treasurer W. E. Sutter and various citizens whose opinions the mayor was able to sound out, that the purchase of Harry’s Folly by a big hotel chain would irrevocably change the pace of life in Carson’s Bluff, the mayor put it to the citizenry how best to stave off the takeover.
After various illegal and immoral suggestions had been rejected, it was decided by the town caucus that the best thing to do is to convince Mansion Enterprises, and its representative F. H. Mansion, that Harry’s Folly would be a foolish investment and that they’d be really sorry afterwards.
The motion was put to a vote to make Mansion Enterprises sorry. Ayes: 1,552. Nays: zero. The town caucus retired to Stella’s Bar & Grill at 7:32 p.m.
Signed, this day of the 23rd of May, 2005
Lilly Langtry Sutter Wright
FAX FROM. J. A. Sutter, Sheriff’s Office, Carson’s Bluff, CA
FAX TO: F. H. Mansion, c/o Administrative Headquarters, Mansion Enterprises, San Francisco, CA
The town caucus met and decided to review your offer. Let us know when you will be arriving and we will arrange transport. Landslides permitting.
There is an old legend that says that Harry’s Folly is haunted, but of course you won’t believe that nonsense. Still, if you want, Stella’s Bar & Grill has upstairs rooms to let out. I think Stella provides sheets, too.
J. A. Sutter
“Christ, who is this?”
“It’s Lilly, Jack. Your sister. Tell me you’re not drunk.”
“Of course I’m not drunk. I’m asleep. What the hell are you calling me for at this hour—what time is it?”
“It’s one o’clock.”
“What’s wrong? Did Norman feed Cavendish the leftovers?”
“Very funny. Listen, Jack, about this Mansion person—”
“Yeah? Well, I imagine he’s pretty much settled up in Harry’s Folly by now. He’s going to be in for a few surprises. I can’t wait.”
“Jack, F. H. Mansion is a girl.”
“He’s a what!”
“A girl, Jack. She’s a girl. A human of the female persuasion.”
“Well, hell. How can you tell?”
“The car stopped at Stella’s for directions.”
“Well, maybe Stella was wrong. You know how she gets after a few beers.”
“I was there, Jack. F. H. Mansion is a girl. Believe me. A pretty one, too.”
“Well, hell, maybe he’s a transvestite.”
“Nope. Trust me on this one. She’s small and blond with big blue eyes, and she looked very sick.”
“Tell Norman to get rid of the booby traps.”
“I already did.”