Sunday, July 10, 2016

Time and Trouble

Time and Trouble
An Emma Howe and Billie August Mystery
Book 1
Gillian Roberts
Untreed Reads
San Francisco, California
Kindle Edition
366 pages

"People were incredibly stupid, Emma thought.  Which was good new for her.  She'd never entirely lack for business because human beings would inevitably, irresistibly screw up, lie, cheat, pose, and in general, wreak havoc.  And at some point during that process, someone who still believe life could be brought into alignment would want help from a person like Emma. "
A fifty-year-old female private investigator is not usual.  For Emma Howe, it is her life.  Unfortunately, she expects her assistant to be highly competent.   Competence is hard to keep for what she is paying.
Billie August wants to prove herself as Emma's new assistant.  She has no experience, but Emma is desperate.   She has no actual work experience. 
Billie does have something special in her background.  When her ex-husband took her son, she successfully tracked him.  Yes, she found her missing son.
Billie is driven to do well, smart, quick to learn, and ambitious.  She wants to be successful and become a private investigator.  She needs a substantial number of working hours under the direction of a licensed private investigator.  The number seems humongous but doable.
Sophie Redmond has many problems.   Her most immediate concern is her troublesome teenage daughter, Penny, who is missing from their home.
Penny is independent and rebellious.  Is she a runaway?  Why?  Is her step-father causing a problem for her?
As life would have it, these answers are no simple with many hidden issues overlapping the investigation.
Also, Penny is a high-school senior and is eighteen years old.  So does anyone call this a runaway since she is considered an adult be the law?
Wesley is Penny's little brother who has the misfortune of being left at home.  What is going on in this home?  Are they abusive parents?  Some things just don't  make sense.
Sophie believes Penny has joined a cult.  She is with a group of young adults who are devoted followers of Renaissance Faires.  The other members of the troupe are slightly older than Penny and resent her attracting the attentions of one of the male members.
While in a field, Penny discovers a heart-shaped pendant and the bones of a long-deceased baby. Eventually, the police uncover a woman's skeleton nearby.
What has Penny stumbled upon?  Is she in any danger?  Who?  Why?
Untreed Publishing offers an unusual service.  Time and Trouble was originally published in 1998.   They rediscovered these discarded and forgotten novels and republish these fortunately chosen hidden gifts.
Time and Trouble is a fast-paced story revealing depth into family problems with flawed characters who do not always make the wisest choices.  The combination of the fast-paced experienced investigator in Emma contrasting with Billie who has such big dreams of being independent creates an authenticity creating a wealth of emotions for both.  The objectivity in presenting Penny and her mother is outstanding with the reader constantly revising their impressions of both making this a fascinating read.
Time and Trouble is a great read from the past that fortunately has been revived for today's adult mystery readers.

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