A lottery jackpot winner decides to turn one of her millions into a bounty for the man who left her. Barbara Annette is decorating a cake when the Powerball numbers come in. They sound suspiciously familiar, but she finishes the cake before checking her ticket, knowing that if she wins her hands will be too shaky to handle the icing. This quiet Midwesterner has just won nine million dollars - and nine million kinds of trouble to go with it. Accepting her money on national television, Barbara Annette promises a cool million to anyone who can bring her runaway husband home to her. When he hears of the reward placed for his return, Bobby decides to claim it himself - but first, he's got to get past a pair of bounty hunters, a psychotic pretty-boy, and a lovelorn humanities professor who won't take no for an answer. Getting her husband home safe will be tougher than winning the lottery. Whether Barbara Annette will want him when he gets there is another question altogether.
About the Author
Pete Hautman is the author of National Book Award–winning novel Godless, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, Stone Cold, The Flinkwater Factor, The Forgetting Machine, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as several adult novels. He lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at PeteHautman.com.
Read an Excerpt
When Barbaraannette Quinn heard the Powerball numbers come over the radio she was busy decorating a Cowboy Cake for her niece, spelling out "Brittany" in pink script beneath a peanut-butter-frosting rendering of a cowboy hat.
She was giving this cake her all because she could still remember her own seventh birthday party. Her mother had served Hostess chocolate cupcakes with the little corkscrew of icing on top. No candles. Her birthday present that year had been a Star Trek metal lunchbox. She still had it. According to Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide, it was worth more than five hundred dollars, but what she remembered most was that she had not gotten a real birthday cake.
Barbaraannette did not know how her niece had become interested in cowboys. Possibly some old Bonanza rerun off the satellite dish. She hoped the girl would outgrow them. Cowboys were trouble.
But this year Britty would get her cake, a three-layer devil's food covered with dark brown chocolate frosting and topped with a peanut butter cowboy hat and her name in pink frosting, all surrounded by a peanut butter frosting lasso. Barbaraannette would have drawn a horse, too, but she did not think her artistic skills were up to it.
When she heard the Powerball numbers coming over the radio 2, 4, 10, 19, 29, and 16 she stopped moving for several seconds, then took a breath and fitted a fluted nozzle onto her cake decorator and applied a pink scalloped ridge around the base of the cake. It wasn't an authentic cowboy touch, but she had a lot of frosting left and besides, in addition to cowboys, Brittany adored all things pink.
The lottery numbers were interesting because 10-29, 2-19, and 4-16 were the birthdays of relatives, specifically, those of her sister Toagie, their mother, Hilde, and Toagie's daughter, Brittany. They were especially interesting because Barbaraannette always based her weekly Powerball numbers on family birthdays. But with two sisters, two nieces, and a nephew, she could not for the life of her remember whose birthdays she had chosen for her most recent ticket.
Barbaraannette set aside the cake decorator and regarded her work. Using the handle of a teaspoon, she touched up a stray glob of pink frosting. Brittany probably would not have noticed the tiny flaw, but there was no point in doing half a job.
The Powerball ticket she had purchased last Sunday at the Pump-n-Munch waited in the purse hanging from the knob on the kitchen door, not six feet from her elbow. Barbaraannette was powerfully curious to have a look at that ticket, but she took a few more minutes to press seventeen tiny cinnamon hearts into the band of the peanut butter cowboy hat. She knew that if she looked at that ticket now, and it was a winner, her hands would be shaking so hard she would never be able to finish decorating that cake. She placed the hearts carefully, spreading them out nice and even. Britty loved little cinnamon hearts.
After positioning the final heart, Barbaraannette washed her hands, then placed a clear plastic cake protector over her creation. She lifted her purse from the doorknob and fished the lottery ticket from the inside pocket. Before reading the numbers, she took one last look at the Cowboy Cake. Britty was going to love it.
Copyright © 1999 by Pete Hautman
What People are Saying About This
Los Angeles Times A winner.
Minneapolis Star Tribune Besides being a hillarious, fast-moving read...Mrs. Million is a first-rate adventure yarn.
The Denver Post Entertaining....Pete Hautman is among the writers whose name alone promises a great read.
San Diego Union-Tribune Mrs. Million is a hot-dog-at-the-ballgame book: You can't believe you ate it; you can't believe you ate it so fast; you probably could eat another one.
Newsday (New York) Fun and engaging. Read it for the heroine who is tough, sensitive, and entangled in a family she both loves and hates.
Omaha World-Herald (NE) Mrs. Million is a heck of a fun novel and deliciously written, too.
Detroit Free Press A winding and surprisingly satisfying story....This book is a sweet-dizzy ride that shows Hautman is one of those rare authors who can love his characters while laughing at them.
Midwest Book Review A fabulous tale that will thrill readers who relish an offbeat novel. The story line never lets up, but as in all of Hautman's delicious books, the eccentric characters control the plot...and bring a brilliant mystery to life.
Baton Rouge Magazine (LA) The tale is outrageous and decidedly funny with a tightly drawn plot, suspense and even violence....The whole thing has a wonderful lunatic tinge that brings crime fiction to a near hysterical level.
State Journal (Lansing, MI) The action gets fast, furious, and deadly with unexpected plot twists....If you're seeking entertaining, fast-paced, light reading: look no further Pete Hautman has arrived.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Meeting and talking with author Pete Hautman, one would never suspect the lunatic talent he so ably conceals. Yet here is a fifth novel in his series of crime capers that in short synopses seem barely attached to the real world. Upon complete examination, we discover not only having had an enjoyable time, but also having gained some new insights and a different way of looking at our society. Hautman has a fine eye for the foibles both fair and foul, of the human race, and his ability to write pithy, crackling, dialogue is never more evident than in this tale of MRS. MILLION.
Barbaraannette Quinn is the middle child of a trio known collectively in town as the Grabo sisters. She and sisters Toagie and Mary Beth, live in Cold Rock, Minnesota. While in high school she seduces or is seduced by--it¿s never entirely clear, which is no reflection on the talents of the author--Bobby Quinn, whom she subsequently marries after a few years away from Cold Rock.
Early one morning Bobby disappears. Now, six years later, Barbaraannette wins the lottery, appears on television, and offers a cool million of her winnings to anyone who can bring Bobby back to her. In Arizona, Bobby and his current companion, a woman named Phlox, decide that the million ought to be theirs. They hatch a plan to acquire it and things begin to go seriously awry.
The large cast of complicated characters, so real they are scary, never seem to be doing or saying things that are off the wall, yet they manage to convey the impression that we¿re watching a complete farce in undiciplined rehearsal. Just a fine fine novel.
what a funny and rapid moving book. I loved it an considerate a great summer read.