I, Theresa Marie "Tessie" Finley, hereby confess that on the night of October 17th, 1959, instead of keeping my ears to the ground and my eyes peeled for suspicious goings-on in our neighborhood, the way I swore to do on the Holy Bible, I screwed up really bad.
rom the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel brimming with extraordinary charm that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, of growing up, of longing for what we've lost . . . and of love.
FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa "Tessie" Finley she's in over her head.
PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie, a devotee of gumshoe bible, Modern Detection, and newly elected president of The Mutual Admiration Society, adds solving a bloody murder case to her already quite full TO-DO list.
As if dealing with her "sad madness" over the recent tragic drowning death of her beloved father, showering tender loving care on her "sweet, but weird" younger sister, Birdie, and staying on the good side of their hard edged mother weren't enough, the Finley girls and their partner in crime, Charlie "Cue Ball" Garfield, will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next door neighbor, Gert Klement, who'd like nothing better than to send the sisters to "homes"—and, of course, there's the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries—the mystery of life.
An uncommonly rich and enormously charming tour de force, The Mutual Admiration Society showcases Lesley Kagen's marvelous storytelling talents. Tessie's world bursts with the poignancy of coming of age, of family drama, and of the unbreakable bond between sisters. Laced with heartwarming humor and heartbreaking grief, the novel is nothing short of magical.
"Lesley Kagen's latest gem...takes readers on a fabulous adventure to discover whether or not a murder has been committed in the local cemetery. With the hilarious Finley sisters at the helm, nothing can go wrong—or can it? Spunky, fun and entirely charming. Both a mystery and a coming-of-age story that's sure to delight!"
—Mary Kubica, NYT bestselling author of Don't You Cry
"A captivating tale that is woven together with sharp wit and heartbreaking honesty."
—Heather Gudenkauf, NYT bestselling author of Missing Pieces
"With its gloriously quirky kid's eye view of grief, mental illness, and strange happenings in a nineteen fifties neighborhood, this heart-warming story is sure to delight Fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
—Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son
"Fact: You will fall in love with eleven-year-old Tessie Finley and her sister Birdie. Proof: Lesley Kagen's novel The Mutual Admiration Society, where Tessie Finley sets out to solve a mystery in true Nancy Drew fashion. Except Nancy Drew was never this funny, and never pulled at your heartstrings like Lesley Kagen's characters do. This is a novel you will not want to put down, and Kagen is a master storyteller who will keep you hovering between laughing and crying the whole way."
—Cassie Selleck, bestselling author of The Pecan Man
"One of the most delightfully quirky investigative teams in recent literature. Eleven-year-old Tessie's witty narrative voice lilts with both the innocence of a child and the precociousness of a mind older than her years. While the mystery takes center stage at first glance, the heart of this novel is its poignant portrayal of sisterly love."
—RT Book Reviews