To date, author Sophie Littlefield has created five novels in the Bad Day For series.
All five feature heroine, Stella Hardesty, a 50-year-old widow, who owns a sewing notions shop in the small Missouri town of Prosper. After thirty years as a battered wife, Stella dispatched her husband, Ollie, with a wrench and came away with a plea of self defense.
Not much to base a five-novel series on except for Stella’s side business which involves helping women safely leave abusive relationships.
While battling a drinking problem, the spunky, sassy, laugh-out-loud heroine has redefined her once pudgy self into a weight-lifting dynamo that can run 10 miles at a time. To round out the new Stella, she has also trained herself to handle a weapon and owns a suitcase full of torture toys that she’s not afraid to use when provoked.
Even though the subject matter is dark, women and children in a vulnerable situation; Stella is hilarious, her observations on individuals and their life choices are funny and she has amassed an interesting group of sidekicks along the way.
In her downtime, Stella contemplates her on again/off again relationship with Sheriff Goat Jones, Prosper’s law man, who might not take kindly to her vigilante type of justice.
A Bad Day for Sorry (2009)
Ducking under Stella’s radar, abusive ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, flees with his child. The frantic mother, Chrissy, teams up with Stella to rescue her son not realizing that Shaw is involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. As the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Dean’s mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy’s son, Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble.
A Bad Day for Pretty (2010)
When a tornado uncovers a mummified woman buried at the Prosper, MO, fairgrounds, the police suspect Neb Donovan. Reluctantly, Stella accepts Donna Donovan’s pleas to clear her husband’s name. Complicating Stella’s investigation—and her long-simmering feelings for Sheriff Goat Jones—is the arrival of Goat’s former wife, Brandy Truax, who has designs on her ex and a possible link to the murdered woman. With her plucky assistant, Chrissy Shaw, Stella must exonerate Neb while eluding the real killer.
A Bad Day for Scandal (2011)
When Stella refuses to help, Priscilla Porter get rid of a corpse hidden in the trunk of her car, ‘Priss’ threatens to go public with some very damning photos that could not only damage Stella’s budding relationship with Sheriff Goat Jones but maybe even land her in jail. After Priss; her brother, Liman; and the photos vanish, Stella becomes the prime suspect. Stella and her assistant, Chrissy Shaw, decide to get the photos back themselves, but that’s easier said than done when they run up against an oversexed female judge with ties to Priss and her new business venture.
A Bad Day for Mercy (2012)
Stella’s step-nephew, Chip, has been threatened with serious bodily harm if he doesn’t settle his unpaid gambling debts. Arriving in Wisconsin, Stella finds Chip, his Russian girlfriend, Natalya, and a dead man on their porch. Suspicious but compelled to help family, Stella tracks down more suspects, including the deceased’s business partner, a purveyor of black-market Botox, and a jilted violist. Matters are complicated by the unexpected arrival of B J Broderson, who has picked the worst possible time to pursue his amorous intentions toward Stella. Meanwhile, thoughts of Sheriff “Goat” Jones make Stella blush and wonder where, and with whom, she will spend her fifty-first birthday.
A Bad Day for Romance (2013)
Coming in September
Discussion Questions for A Bad Day for Scandal:
1. What chance do Stella and Goat have of forging a lasting relationship? Consider Stella’s belief in the ‘spirit of the law’ and Goat’s ‘letter of the law’.
2. Stella is a vigilante, a renegade. How can her wild west style of justice exist in the 21st century?
3. Discuss the importance of tradition in today’s fast-paced world. How was Stella’s life impacted by the loss of her mother’s Easter traditions?
4. When Stella and Chrissy took money from Lawrence and Jake, they rationalized their actions with the following: “The two of them had principles. They had standards. Their business was committed to helping those in need. . .” In your opinion, does their reasoning hold water?
5. Do you consider yourself happy in light of Stella’s comment: “Happy’s more rare than folks like to think.”
6. Is Stella an admirable character, a heroine for all women, female chauvinist pig?
7. Do men have an evolutionary advantage over the female sex?
8.Would you agree/disagree that a mother’s best strategy is silence? How well did Stella stick to that philosophy when Noelle announced that she and Joy were a couple?
9. Discuss Littlefield’s use of humor to lighten the mood of her novels. Can you find examples of slapstick (physical humor), double entendre (words or expressions with two meanings) and irony (sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what is normally meant)?
10. How would you classify A Bad Day for Scandal-comedy, mystery, romance?