Monday, November 22, 2010


Our blog challenge this week is to describe our protagonist's family Thanksgiving dinner, complete with dysfunction. Well, welcome to Casa Pollack where dysfunction reigns, Thanksgiving Day and every day.

Our cast of characters includes:

Anastasia Pollack, recently widowed magazine crafts editor turned reluctant amateur sleuth. Not only does she need to clear her name as the number one suspect in the murder of the magazine’s fashion editor, but she’s got to figure out a way to hold onto her house. You see, dead hubby had a bit of a gambling problem she didn’t know about, and before he permanently cashed in his chips, he wiped out their savings and got into hock with a loan shark.

Nick and Alex Pollack, Anastasia’s totally normal teenage sons. Given where they get their DNA, “normal” is a huge accomplishment. However, given what’s befallen them, neither is feeling very thankful this Thanksgiving.

Lucille Pollack, Anastasia’s curmudgeonly semi-invalid, communist mother-in-law. She arrived at Casa Pollack to recuperate from a hit and run but has become a permanent resident due to circumstances you can find out if you read ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN when it’s released in January.

Flora Sudberry Periwinkle Ramirez Scoffield Goldberg O’Keefe, Anastasia’s mother. She claims to descend from Russian royalty (which makes her Lucille’s arch nemesis) and uses Casa Pollack as her home base whenever she’s between husbands, which she currently is.

Ralph, the Shakespeare quoting parrot. Anastasia inherited him from Great-aunt Penelope Periwinkle. Too bad Great-aunt Penelope didn’t leave her any money to care for the bird.

Manifesto, Lucille’s bulldog. He’s as much a curmudgeon as she is. Anastasia and the rest of the family call him Mephisto the Devil Dog.

Catherine the Great, Flora’s corpulent white Persian cat and a pampered prima donna.

With a cast of characters like that, do I really need to describe what it’s going to be like around the Thanksgiving dinner table? Norman Rockwell it ain’t. Much closer to The Simpsons. Besides, with holding down a full-time job, trying to find a killer to prove her innocence, and dodging assorted bill collectors and Ricardo the loan shark, Anastasia didn’t exactly have time to prepare a turkey with all the fixings. Not that she’s got the money to buy a turkey and the ingredients for all the fixings right now. So instead of turkey and stuffing, dinner is turkey dogs and beans. And forget all those football games on TV. Anastasia had to cancel the cable. You can imagine the totally normal reaction her sons had to that!

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series will be released in January and will be available at bookstores and all online venues. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Anastasia and her motley crew, you can read the first chapter at


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Lois, you say this isn't a Rockwell scene, but how do you know this isn't exactly what Norman Rockwell's REAL life was like? Maybe those idyllic paintings were his wishful thinking. Deep down, every family is nuts to some degree. It's just that some are rocky road (like Anastasia's) while others are finely chopped. In the end, nuts is nuts.

Lois Winston said...

Good point, Sue Ann!

jeff7salter said...

Lois, I'm tempted to visit your house for Thanksgiving. I've got:
us two, my son and his new family, my daughter and her gang (plus 3 Labs), my wife's cousin and his gang, my wife's sister and her gang, the estranged daughter of my wife's sister and the daughter's current boyfriend) ... and my mom.
Have you got room at your table for me?

Lois Winston said...

Jeff, are you looking to escape?

Kelli Stanley said...

Lois, that is one great cast of characters! And I love the idea of a bull dog named Manifesto! :)

I think you're making turkey hot dogs sound like a lot of fun ...


Anonymous said...

What a great idea, Lois! And when I imagine my current protag at his family's Thanksgiving dinner, well, suffice to say it makes my own family look like Beaver Cleaver's. :)
Thanks for the great exercise and Happy Thanksgiving!

Lois Winston said...

Thanks, Kelli and Rebbie! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

jeff7salter said...

Escape is precisely what I had in mind!