Our Husband
by Stephanie Bond, contemporary (2000)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-97565-1

Stephanie Bond's first full-length contemporary isn't exactly the splash she may hope it to be. For one, it comes hot on the heels of Maggie Osborne's historical with the same theme: accidental (on the wives' part) polygamy, making me wonder if both authors are good friends. The novelty is gone, and since Our Husband have the three women behaving exactly the way the women in Ms Osborne's book behave (bicker, bicker, friends at the end), OH has the disadvantage of deja vu where this reader is concerned.

But it has a lot of strong points on its own: very naughty humor, mostly at the expense of the Bimbo Third Wife.

The wives of Raymond Carmichael discover the existance of the other two minutes before his death. Meet the Old Bitter Hen, Beatrix. Then there's the Good Girl I'm sure I'm supposed to relate most with (but no), Natalie the Doctor, AKA the Wuss Hen. Then there's the youngest one, the stripper with an unhealthy obsession with trivia and the obligatory Bad Past - hi Ruby, AKA Bimbo Hen.

Bitter, Wuss, and Bimbo hate each other at first sight, but when Ray's death is deemed due to foul play, all three Hens have to work together to clear their names. And Charlie's Angels these Hens sure certainly ain't.

But it's fun. So what if the laughter is mainly at the ladies' expense? Any woman who bicker over a clearly unworthy man deserves the humiliation show-all she gets - heeheehee, what silly hens! I bet Raymond is having the last laugh over this. I do groan though when it turns out that the killer is just another Hen wanting to join the dead Rooster's harem. Hello? What is it with you hens? There are plenty more Bantam roosters around, you know! What is this, Chicken Run?

Our Husband is a classy Springer episode, minus the horrifying brain numb that usually accompanies a Springer hour. After all, it's funny, sassy, and witty. Women Catfighting Badly has never been this silly or entertaining.

Rating: 79

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