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Inspiration and Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer Quinn!

Mrs. Plansky's RevengeMrs. Plansky’s Revenge is bestselling author Spencer Quinn’s first novel in a new series since the meteoric launch of Chet and Bernie–introducing the irresistible and unforgettable Mrs. Plansky, in a story perfect for book clubs and commercial fiction readers.

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn’t changed her killer tennis game one bit.

One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges—after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven’t gotten a simple “thank you” for a gift sent weeks ago. Not that she’s counting.

By morning, Mrs. Plansky has lost everything. Law enforcement announces that Loretta’s life savings have vanished, and that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist. First humiliated, then furious, Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim.

In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too.

Read below to see where Spencer Quinn drew his inspiration from when writing Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge!


Inspiration and Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge

Uh-oh. Inspiration is the topic. I’m a little afraid to even go there, in case the gods of inspiration are disturbed by my presence and vote to blacklist me. But unlike with any of the other novels I’ve written, the idea for Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge (my 45th), came directly from a real life event, so maybe the gods will give me a pass.

Five or six years ago, my dad got a phone call. At the time he was in his early nineties. He died two weeks short of his 97th birthday and was in excellent mental shape and very good physical shape until the end. I want to emphasize that mental part. He was a very smart guy: quick, sharp, clear-headed. Back to the call.

Caller: Hey, Grandpa!

My dad: Jake?

Caller: Yeah, Grandpa, it’s me, Jake.

Cut To: My dad’s wife, noticing he’s putting on his jacket.

Wife: Ed? Where are you going?

My dad: To the bank. Jake’s in trouble and he needs some money.

At that point it was decided to call Jake (living in another city), and he had not called my dad and wasn’t in any trouble. “Jake” never got a penny. But I was amazed that someone like my dad could have been fooled.

And then I got back to writing the Chet and Bernie novel I was working on and thought no more about the two Jakes. Then one day on a bike ride the idea for Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge—indeed the whole set-up, including the Romanian part—came to me in one fell swoop. Shall I summarize that now, or go on and on about bike riding, which I do all year round even though I live on Cape Cod where winter temps can dip into the 20’s or even lower, and how I actually prefer the cold days because no one else is on the bike path, so it’s like I’m in one of those dystopian Last Of Us stories, except it’s a utopia? No, that would be boring, so instead the set-up of Mrs. P.

Mrs. Plansky is a seventy-one year old retiree. She and her husband Norm sold a successful small business they built from nothing and moved to Florida for their sunset years, but Norm soon died. Mrs. P has a 98-year-old father in a fancy assisted living she pays for, plus a grown daughter and son with big dreams but not enough money to realize them. Mrs. P is the kind who helps out. She also has two grandchildren, one of whom is Will, out in Colorado. Late one night Mrs. P gets a call from him—a Jake type call—and, following his precise instructions, she sends $9726.18. She can afford it. Her grandson is in trouble. Case closed.

But it wasn’t Will. And because Mrs. P uses the same password for everything, the scammers have cleaned out not just her checking account but her retirement accounts as well, everything. The FBI tells her the scammers are probably in Romania, but identifying them would be almost impossible and the chances of getting her money back are nil. Mrs. P is humiliated. How stupid she’s been! And even worse: she’s let Norm down. She goes to Romania to recover her self-respect, the trust of a dead husband, her money.

So: that all dropped into my mind on the bike path but at first I didn’t connect it to my dad! Then I started wondering why I’d chosen the name Plansky. Bingo! Tony Plansky was a legendary track coach at Williams College, where the Navy had sent my dad in WW2 as part of their program to get officers (my dad commanded a sub chaser hunting Nazi U-boats in the Atlantic). My dad had run cross country at Williams and he had some funny stories about Tony Plansky. And when I went to Williams in the 1960’s he was still there! Therefore Mrs. Plansky’s name was the bridge to where my story had come from, even if I was too blockheaded to put it together myself. Just one more reason to love what my grandmother always called “the writing game.”

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Above: Tony Plansky

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Above: Ed Abrahams


Click below to pre-order your copy of Mrs. Plansky’s Revengeavailable 7.25.23!

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Forge Your Own Book Club for Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer Quinn!

Mrs. Plansky's RevengeBy Ariana Carpentieri:

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn’t changed her killer tennis game one bit.

One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges—after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven’t gotten a simple “thank you” for a gift sent weeks ago. Not that she’s counting.

By morning, Mrs. Plansky has lost everything. Law enforcement announces that Loretta’s life savings have vanished, and that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist. First humiliated, then furious, Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim.

In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too.

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge is an excellent choice for your next book club discussion. Here’s a breakdown on what to watch, what to eat, what to drink, what to listen to, and what to discuss while you read it!


WHAT TO WATCH

Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle Original Japanese Movie Poster

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge is a story about an older woman who loses everything and must go on a physical, emotional, and mental journey to get her life back. It’s a tale of redemption and finding oneself along the way. A movie with a similar plot-line is Hayao Miyazaki’s acclaimed Studio Ghibli film, Howl’s Moving Castle, which is about a girl who’s turned into an old woman by a powerful witch and must go on a journey in order to get her youth back. Along the way she forges friendships, experiences new things, faces hardships, and ultimately discovers a new appreciation for life. Both stories portray little old ladies who are actually anything but—they’re strong, determined, and must embark on a journey to reclaim their lives!

WHAT TO EAT

Papanasi prajiti: secretul ca sa iti iasa moi si pufosi - Kanal D Romania

Mrs. Plansky is a kind grandmother who’s tricked into losing all of her life savings. Law enforcement informs her that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist, but Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim. In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too. With her trip whisking her off to Romania, I think this book calls to be paired with a classic Romanian dessert! Papanașior Romanian cheese donuts, are by far the country’s most popular and beloved dessert. Papanași can be fried or boiled – both are delicious, and the boiled variation generally has a breadcrumb and sugar coating!

WHAT TO DRINK

Long Island Iced Tea Recipe and Variations

It’s no secret that Mrs. Planksy is a sweet but strong old woman. She’s got a lot on her plate and is determined to get her life back after everything was unjustly stolen from her. I think a drink that’s sweet, but also packs a punch, would be a perfect fit for Mrs. Plansky. So I’d say a Long Island Iced Tea is the way to go! But if alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing, then a plain iced tea would also do the trick. Plus, both are perfect summer drinks to sip on if you read this with your book club during the upcoming warmer months!

WHAT TO LISTEN TO

Float On (Modest Mouse song) - Wikipedia

The song Float On by Modest Mouse is a great song to pair with this book because it’s all about pushing through what’s bad in order to make it through. The lyrics paint a picture that you can still find light even in the darkness, and serves as a reminder that the hard times will eventually pass. There’s even a mention in the song about getting scammed (which is exactly what happens to poor Mrs.Plansky), saying they “took every last dime with that scam.” But looking on the bright side, it continues with: “Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands / Good news will work its way to all them plans.” I think Mrs. Plansky would appreciate listening to a song like this because it would help keep her motivated as she strives to get her money and dignity back!

WHAT TO DISCUSS

Download the Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge Reading Group Guide for insightful questions to get the discussion going!

Quinn Mrs Planskys Revenge RGG (1)

Click below to pre-order your copy of Mrs. Plansky’s Revengeavailable 7.25.23!

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Sweet Treats & Reads: 5 Summer Desserts to Pair with Forge Books!

By Ariana Carpentieri:

Summer is just around the corner, and nothing beats sitting out in the sunshine with a good book! But are you interested in making your outdoor reading time a tad bit sweeter? Well Forge has a treat in store for you! Read below to see what 5 desserts we think would pair best with a few our new summer reads.


At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber

At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities

Cappuccino Cinnamon Rolls

A book with ‘Coffee Shop’ right in the title deserves to be paired with a delicious coffee-flavored dessert! These Cappuccino Cinnamon Roles will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. The mix of espresso and cinnamon will create a perfect balance and make you feel like you’re sitting cozily at Magpie’s; the magical coffee and curiosity shop featured in the book! Plus, cinnamon roles are known for being the most wholesome and precious dessert out there…and Heather Webber is the queen of writing feel-good stories with wholesome storylines and characters that become precious to your heart.

Mr. Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar; translated by Caroline Froh

Mr Kato Plays Family

Lemon Bars-1

Mr. Katō is best known as a a curmudgeonly older gentleman, so I think a sour dessert would be best aligned with his grouchy demeanor. This deliciously tangy Lemon Bars recipe is one of my personal favorites (I make it every summertime for annual barbecues because my family loves it!) and I think it would pair perfectly with a book that features a grumpy main character that finds sweetness in his job at Happy Family, where employees act as part-time relatives or acquaintances for clients in need.

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer QuinnMrs. Plansky's Revenge

Romanian Cheese Doughnuts – Papanasi

Mrs. Plansky is a sweet old lady who’s tricked into losing all of her life savings. Law enforcement informs her that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist, but Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim. In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too. With her trip whisking her off to Romania, I think this book calls to be paired with a classic Romanian dessert! Papanași, or Romanian cheese donuts, are by far the country’s most popular and beloved dessert. Papanași can be fried or boiled – both are delicious, and the boiled variation generally has a breadcrumb and sugar coating!

Five Years After by William R. Forstchen

Five Years After

Brownie Cookie Dough Cake | riseandbrine.com

Five Years After is a near-future thriller where John Matherson must contend with new threats to the fragile civilization that he helped rebuild. It’s a story about rebuilding as a result of an apocalyptic-esque situation. Our main protagonist must find the strength within to start over, so that he can save the country and the people that he holds dear from even greater calamity. Best dessert for this book? I’m going to have to say it’s this Brownie Cookie Dough Apocalypse Cake because if the end times are near, I want to be eating something decadent with an uncountable amount of calories that includes the best of both (ending) worlds—brownies AND cookie dough.

Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus

Raw Dog

Elise Strachan's Waffle "Pizzas"

Raw Dog is a book all about hot dogs (with a healthy dose of travelogue and political commentary). And while a frankfurter might not be the best ingredient to include in a dessert, these adorable No-Bake Twinkie ‘Hot Dogs’ are the next best thing. They’re quick and easy to make (just like real hot dogs are) and perfect to whip up for this upcoming 4th of July holiday. Trust me when I say this cute dessert is a real ‘wiener!’

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Excerpt Reveal: Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge by Spencer Quinn

Mrs. Plansky's RevengeMrs. Plansky’s Revenge is bestselling author Spencer Quinn’s first novel in a new series since the meteoric launch of Chet and Bernie–introducing the irresistible and unforgettable Mrs. Plansky, in a story perfect for book clubs and commercial fiction readers.

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn’t changed her killer tennis game one bit.

One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges—after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven’t gotten a simple “thank you” for a gift sent weeks ago. Not that she’s counting.

By morning, Mrs. Plansky has lost everything. Law enforcement announces that Loretta’s life savings have vanished, and that it’s hopeless to find the scammers behind the heist. First humiliated, then furious, Loretta Plansky refuses to be just another victim.

In a courageous bid for justice, Mrs. Plansky follows her only clue on a whirlwind adventure to a small village in Romania to get her money and her dignity back—and perhaps find a new lease on life, too.

Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge will be available on July 25th, 2023. Please enjoy the following excerpt!


CHAPTER ONE

“Hello, it is I, your grandson, insert name here,” said Dinu.

“Correct,” said Professor Bogdan, language teacher at Liceu Teoretic. He leaned back in his chair and lit up a Chesterfield. “But too correct, you know?”

Too correct? Dinu did not know. In addition, he was asthmatic and the mere presence of a cigarette aroused a twitchy feeling in his lungs. No smoking in school, of course, but these private lessons, paid for by Uncle Dragomir, weren’t about school.

Professor Bogdan blew out a thin, dense stream of smoke, one little streamlet branching off and heading in Dinu’s direction. “There is English, Dinu, and then there is English as she is spoken.” He smiled an encouraging smile. His teeth were yellow, shading into brown at the gumline.

“English is she?” Dinu said.

For God’s sake, it’s a joke,” said Professor Bogdan. “Is there gender in English?”

“I don’t think such.”

“So. You don’t think so. Come, Dinu. You’ve studied three years of English. Loosen up.”

“Loosen up?”

“That’s how the young in America talk. Loosen up, chill out, later.” He tapped a cylinder of ash into a paper cup on his desk. “Which is in fact what you need to know if I’m not mistaken, the argot of youth.” He glanced at Dinu. Their eyes met. Professor Bogdan looked away. “My point,” he went on, “is that no American says ‘it is I.’ They say ‘it’s me.’ The grammar is wrong but that’s how they say it. You must learn the right wrong grammar. That’s the secret of sounding American.”

“How will I learn?”

“There are ways. For one you could go to YouTube and type in ‘Country Music.’ Now begin again.”

“Hello, it’s me, your grandson, insert name here,” Dinu said.

“Much better,” said Professor Bogdan. “You might even say, ‘Yo, it’s me.’”

“Yo?”

“On my last trip I heard a lot of yo. Even my brother says it.”

“Your brother in New Hampshire?”

“No P sound. And ‘sher,’ not ‘shire.’ But yes, my brother.”

“The brother who is owning a business?”

“Who owns a business. Bogdan Plumbing and Heating.” Professor Bogdan opened a drawer, took out a T-shirt, and tossed it to Dinu.

Dinu shook it out, held it up, took a look. On the front was a cartoon-type picture of a skier with tiny icicles in his bushy black mustache, brandishing a toilet plunger over his head. On the back it said: Bogdan Plumbing and Heating, Number 1 in the Granite State.

Dinu made a motion to hand it back.

“Keep it,” said Professor Bogdan.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. New Hampshire is the Granite State. All the states have nicknames.”

“What is nicknames?”

“Like pet names. For example, what does your mother call you?”

“Dinu.”

Professor Bogdan blinked a couple of times. Like the skier, he had a bushy mustache, except his was mostly white. “Texas is the Lone Star State, Florida is the Sunshine State, Georgia is the Peach State.”

“Georgia?”

“They have a Georgia of their own. They have everything, Dinu, although . . .” He leaned across the desk and pointed at Dinu with his nicotine-stained finger. “Although most of them don’t realize it and complain all the time just like us.”

“Does your brother complain?” Dinu said.

Professor Bogdan’s eyebrows, not quite as bushy as his mustache, rose in surprise. “No, Dinu. He does not complain. My brother grew up here. But his children—do you know what they drive? Teslas! Teslas almost fully paid off! But they complain.”

Those state nicknames sounded great to Dinu, even magical in the case of the lone star. He knew one thing for sure: if he ever got to America, Tesla or no Tesla, he would never complain. Just to get out of the flat where he lived with his mother, much better than the one-room walk-up they’d occupied before Uncle Dragomir started helping out, but still a flat too cold in winter, too hot in summer, with strange smells coming up from the sink drain and—

The door opened and Uncle Dragomir, not the knocking type, walked in. Professor Bogdan’s office got smaller right away. Bogdan half rose from his chair.

“How’s he doing?” Uncle Dragomir said in their native tongue, indicating Dinu with a little chin motion. He had a large, square chin, a nose that matched, large square hands, and a large square body, everything about him large and square, other than his eyes. His eyes were small, round, glinting.

“Oh, fine,” said Professor Bogdan. “Coming along nicely. Good. Very well.”

“In time,” said Uncle Dragomir.

“In time?”

“How much longer. Days? Weeks? Months?”

Professor Bogdan turned to Dinu and switched to English. “Weeks we can do, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know,” Dinu said.

Professor Bogdan turned to Uncle Dragomir, switched back to their language, and smiling as brightly as he could with teeth like his, said, “Weeks, Dragomir.”

Uncle Dragomir fastened his glinting gaze on Professor Bogdan. “In my career I’ve dealt with types who like to stretch out the job. I know you’re not like them.”

Professor Bogdan put his hand to his chest. “The furthest thing from it. Not many weeks, Dragomir, not many at all.”

Hmmf,” said Uncle Dragomir. He took out his money roll, separated some bills without counting, leaned across the desk, and stuffed them in the chest pocket of Professor Bogdan’s shirt. Then he turned, possibly on his way out, but that was when he noticed the T-shirt, lying in Dinu’s lap. “What’s that?”

Professor Bogdan explained—his brother, the Granite State, plumbing and heating.

“Let’s see it on,” said Uncle Dragomir.

“It’s my size,” Dinu said.

“Let’s see.”

Dinu considered putting on the T-shirt over his satin-lined leather jacket. Not real satin or leather although very close. But the T-shirt would probably not fit over the jacket. It was a stupid idea. The problem was that he wore nothing under the jacket, all his shirts dirty, the washer broken and his mother once again dealing with the swollen hands issue. He took off the jacket.

Professor Bogdan’s gaze went right to the big bruise over his ribs on the right side, not a fresh bruise—purple and yellow now, kind of like summer sunsets if the wind was coming out of the mountains and blowing the pollution away—but impossible to miss. Uncle Dragomir didn’t give it the slightest glance. Instead he helped himself to a Chesterfield from Professor Bogdan’s pack, lying on the desk.

Dinu put on the T-shirt.

“The plunger is funny,” said Uncle Dragomir, lighting up.

Desfundator was their word for plunger. Plunger was better. The smoke from Uncle Dragomir’s cigarette reached him. He began to cough. That made his chest hurt, under the bruise.


Click below to pre-order your copy of Mrs. Plansky’s Revengeavailable 7.25.23!

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