Very entertaining and human. The Persian Pickle Club is a quilting/sewing club in Kansas during the great drought. The members are almost all farm wives, struggling through with not very much. There is a party line, but not everyone is on it and just a few have cars. Queenie Bean is one of those fortunate enough to have a car. Her husband Grover, fixes most of the machinery on the farm and she has a pump in her kitchen, so she has water in the house and doesn't have to go to the well to draw it. The "persian pickle" is a material, also called paisley. One of the members asked her husband to get her some once and instead of getting her a length, he bought the whole bolt. All of the members have quilts with a piece of the persian pickle material. Queenie's best friend, Ruby, and her husband have lost their farm and gone to California and Queenie misses her terribly. So, when Mrs. Ritter and Agnes walk in with Mrs Ritter's new daughter-in-law, Queenie has determined they will be best friends. But Rita is very unlike the other women, she's not particularly interested in sewing or quilting and confides in Queenie that she worked in a bar when she met Tom and she wants to be a writer (she was going to school and working at night). When she and Tom married, Rita quit school because they couldn't afford for both of them to go to college. Tom graduated with a degree in engineering, but could not find a job so they came home until he could. The Persian Pickle Club all support each other, help each other out and keep the club's secrets. Then Ella's husband, who had disappeared, is found buried in a far corner of her land. The group rallies around Ella with Mrs. Judd and her husband taking her in. Rita has decided that she will find the killer for the Topeka newspaper and so get a job there. Her determination has them all worried. Ella's husband was so mean and evil nobody minds very much that he is dead, except Rita insists that justice needs to be done. One night, on their way back from helping Nettie out when her husband is ill (the doctor suspects he has polio), Queenie and Rita are waylaid on the road, but are saved when Queenie's 'hired hand' Blue Massie ventures by and flattens the man. Blue starts to leave, but Queenie is shaking so hard she can't drive and asks that he drive them to the Ritter's and she will telephone Grover from there. This makes Queenie exceedingly nervous at being left alone and doubly grateful for the people they invited to stay in their shack and help out Grover. Blue's wife, Zepha, is an interesting character - a believer in signs and omens. It was she who sent Blue out to the road to check on Queenie because she felt something was wrong. Rita is digging deeper and deeper into the business of the murder of Ella's husband and getting perilously close to a completely wrong conclusionI believe I shall have to read some more titles by this author....SPOILERS BELOWWhen she makes an accusation at a club meeting, Queenie breaks down. Rita learns, sort of, what happened and the secret the club members keep.
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