A Reliable Wife
Ralph Truitt and Catherine Land meet at a train station in rural Wisconsin in 1907. Ralph’s ad for a reliable wife has brought them together. They’re both looking to make a change in their life, but it may be more than just a simple marriage. She hungers for more in life, with money and social standing utmost in her sights.
She is not who she seems: she hides more than the precious gems sewn in her dress hem and a small blue bottle she carries. When she steps off the train, Ralph takes one look at the well-worn photograph of Catherine; clearly she is not the woman he has been corresponding with. Though furious at her subterfuge, she will still suit his purpose. He has plans for Catherine that with any luck will bring his wayward son home to him. Detectives do locate this lost son, now a man who plays piano in a bar. He is the lascivious Tony Moretti, but on approach he denies Ralph is his father. Meanwhile, Catherine sets in motion a plan to kill her husband with arsenic from her small blue bottle. Why would she jeopardize her new charmed lifestyle married to the rich Mr. Truitt?
The characters of Ralph and Catherine are carefully chiseled and polished. Robert Goolrick creates a clever labyrinth of deceit, guilt and forgiveness. The story is racked with tension as he slowly manipulates his readers through the twisted maze of plot complexity. Goolrick’s writing is warm and embraceable but with an occasional electric shock. Suspense is this storyteller’s magic.