Monday, August 10, 2009

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield

Don't pick up Sophie Littlefield's debut mystery if you're offended by foul language or violence. But, if you want to read about one of the most original characters in crime fiction, a fifty-year-old woman, a Redneck with a heart of gold, who survived her own abusive marriage only to become a champion for other abused women, a caring mother and neighbor, then you need to pick up A Bad Day for Sorry.

Stella Hardesty killed her husband after suffering through thirty years of his abuse. Now, she's gaining a reputation in Prosper, Missouri for taking on abusive husbands. She has a silent group of appreciative women, and a larger group of people who spread rumors as to Stella's skills with a gun and other instruments of torture. But, she just can't seem to get through to Roy Dean Shaw that he needs to let his ex-wife, Chrissy, alone.

When Chrissy shows up at Stella's house, though, she's not looking for help for herself. Her eighteen-month-old son, Tucker, has disappeared, and Chrissy suspects Roy. But, Chrissy hasn't told Stella everything. What about her first ex-husband, who happened to be in the house when Tucker disappeared? Then, there's Roy Dean's association with the mob, involving drugs and stolen cars. Stella's determined to save Tucker, but it could prove to be her last attempt to save an innocent child.

There are two groups of people Stella cares for in life - abused women, and innocent children. It's evident in Stella's humorous relationship with a neighbor boy. She acts tough, but provides him with meals, gives him money for mowing his own lawn, and tries to encourage him to grow up to be a good man.

Stella Hardesty is a study in contrasts. Stella is introduced as a hard-nosed woman who delights in torturing the men who beat women. Her reputation has grown beyond the local community, and Stella is proud of that. At the same time, she's capable of taking a neighbor boy under her wing, feeding him, watching TV with him, and advising him as to life. She and her daughter are not on speaking terms, but she mothers Chrissy. Stella is a woman who could be arrested for a number of crimes against men, but her own father was a Highway Patrolman, and she's smitten with the local sheriff, Goat Jones. She has a proper business, selling sewing notions, and a sideline business, threatening men.

If Stella appears dislikable in the first few pages, a tough broad with no redeeming qualities, keep reading. A Bad Day for Sorry is a thought-provoking story, with humor and warmth. You won't be sorry you gave Sophie Littlefield's debut a day in your life.

Sophie Littlefield's website is

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield. St. Martin's Press, ©2009. ISBN 9780312559205 (hardcover), 288p.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I keep running into this book online and I'm intrigued. I'll put it on my to-read list for sure. I like books with protagonists that have unlikeable characteristics (makes them more real to me.)

Mystery Writing is Murder

donna said...

Hi Lesa: Just catching up and wanted to tell you I went to the movies on Friday and saw Julie & Julia and it was marvelous. You must definitely go and see it. No bad language. Meryl as Julia is just delightful. I do think it will appeal more to women than men as my husband thought it was too long but he was laughing during some of it. A great movie for summer relaxation.
It's supposed to be the hottest day this summer today (around 90) so we are having Arizona weather.

Lesa said...

Hi Elizabeth,

It's hard to avoid this book on the crime fiction sites. Sophie's book made a splash. And, she's appearing at my library on Saturday with Ann Parker and Juliet Blackwell, so you'll be hearing more about it from me on Sunday. This is a heroine that's a little different.

Lesa said...


I went to see Julie & Julia yesterday morning. Like you, I thought it was terrific. Meryl Streep was wonderful as Julia Child, wasn't she? I just loved her relationship with her husband. I'm now reading her autobiography, My Life in France, and it's filled with so much love for Paul, France & food. It's a marvelous book! I agree with you, though. More women than men are going to like the movie. My nephew and brother-in-law enjoyed it, but one is in school to be a chef, and the other is a foodie. I didn't bother taking my husband. I knew it wasn't for him.

Joe Barone said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for recommending it.

Jen said...

I'm so excited to start this one, Lesa. It's been yanking on my sleeve since it arrived in the mail, and I've had a terrible time keeping it in its place in the reading order. It's just dying to be read!! I have often said that I don't like foul language in books, but what I discovered (via Craig Johnson's Vic) is that I don't like the abuse of foul language. It can be used to improve a book/movie/whatever, but more recent pop culture just seems to abuse it. When used effectively, it can be a good thing! :)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Joe. I'd be interested in your reaction.

Lesa said...

And, I've been waiting for your review, Jen, knowing it was tugging at you! The language was appropriate to the characters and conditions in this particular book.

But, as I said when I reviewed Julie & Julia, it jumped out at me in that one as overuse of the F word. Fortunately, the movie was delightful, without that problem.

So, you're right. Language that is suitable in one book is not right for another.

Shannon said...

Hi Lesa,
I loved this book! It had me from the 2 paragraph prologue.
I agree with your assessment of Stella. I warmed to her throughout the book and found myself pumping my fist in the air occasionally, having zero tolerance for men who feel that it's okay to beat on their women. The thing I found most often while reading the book was that I had thought several times of being able to do the exact same thing Stella has the compunction to do. I also liked that she was a kick-a** woman but wasn't the typical late-20s blonde or brunette who works for the FBI with the hots for one of the other main characters. It was refreshing to have a change of character like that.

After contacting the author so that I can post the prologue on my blog, I was excited to hear that book 2 and 3 are both finished. Stella has become one of my favorites and I look forward to the next books in the series.

Lesa said...

Me, too, Shannon. Thank you for such thoughtful comments about the book. I wish you were going to be here Saturday when Sophie is at the library. I'm hoping I have a nice audience for the program. You never know.

Stella was an original, wasn't she? I have another original on my blog tomorrow, a really funny one. I hope you come back to check it out.

Luanne said...

i like the sounds of this one! thanks for a new author to add to my list Lesa. And! My copy of Killer Summer arrived - thank you so much!!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Luanne! I hope you enjoy Killer Summer. And, at least when I added Sophie Littlefield to your list, I didn't give you one who has written tons of books. (grin)