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The Importance of Being Ernestine(2002)
(The tenth book in the Ellie Haskell series)
A novel by Dorothy Cannell
"Ellie Haskell has had her ups and downs with housekeeper Mrs. Malloy, but she can't help missing her when the corpulent, caustic cleaning lady starts moonlighting in a private detective's office - nosing into his files as she dusts them. So Ellie is quite pleased when "Mrs M.," as she is affectionately known, summons her to Detective Jugg's office one evening for a woman-to-woman chat - though she's a bit surprised when Mrs. M. offers her one of Mr. Jugg's Lucky Strikes and a swig out of his bottle of bourbon. The room is just beginning to spin and the conversation to grow more lively when in walks detective Jugg's no-show afternoon client, Lady Krumley." "Before the two ladies can explain they are not detectives, the hawk-nosed matriarch clad in modish mourning sixty years out of date tells them a tale that goes back thirty years - to when she wrongfully dismissed her parlor maid, Flossie, who was secretly in the family way courtesy of the under gardener. Tragically, Flossie soon died of tuberculosis, while striving to support herself and her child, Ernestine - but not before vowing vengeance from beyond the grave on the rich Krumleys at Moultty Towers. Now, Krumley family members have started meeting with fatal accidents ... The curse, Lady Krumley fears, is being fulfilled." Feeling both generous and confident, Ellie and Mrs. Malloy decide they like Lady Krumley and want to take on her case. Can this newly formed but unlikely detective duo find Ernestine and prevent more Krumleys from crumbling in the churchyard without killing each other first?
November 2002 : USA Hardback
June 2002 : USA Hardback
April 2003 : UK Mass Market Paperback