Jenny Cain’s stories begin with the release of the first novel in 1984, named Generous Death. The author, Nancy Pickard, depicts the story of how a class of fourth graders stumbles across the body of a wealthy personality in arts in the least place anyone would expect. Jenny investigates the case by analyzing the scene of the murder, a Chinese bed art in the local museum. Thus begins the saga of Jenny Cain’s mystery crime cases out of which many intricate situations unfold right before the reader’s eye. Nancy Pickard is the only writer who has won all of the following awards: five Macavity Awards, four Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, and a Shamus Award. This US crime writer began writing at the age of 35 years, meaning it’s never too late to start a career that brings personal satisfaction and worldwide appreciation.
The character of Jenny Cain
Jenny Cain is presented to us as being a very friendly and likable character, with a somewhat cheesy sense of humor. She works in a foundation that manages and distributes money to projects in need, and when an important donor is found dead in the local arts museum she starts investigating the probable cause, as many other donors are found dead within the next period. That is when Jenny truly becomes unnerved by the idea of her own death, as she herself was a significant donor to the foundation. The following books depict Jenny in various situations in which she finds herself confronted with many uncanny murders that may or may not be directly linked to her. Throughout all hardships, Jenny proves to be an excellent analyzer and observer, linking facts and situations faster than you might expect. Although Nancy Pickard writes crime series, she took the time of presenting personal facts out of Jenny’s life, such as her relationship with and old classmate, Geof Bushfield, who ultimately became a police detective.
The plot depicts Jenny Cain, the Executive Director of The Foundation, confronted with a horrible crime scene at the local museum art. Moreover, she realizes she knows the victim, as he was a well know patron of the arts, and a donor to the Foundation. The imaginary town of Port Frederick, Massachusetts is shaken by the crime and soon after that Jenny starts investigating the case. To her surprise, more and more crimes appear, as Jenny realizes that somebody may have stolen her list of donors. What was really troubling was the fact that she was on the list as well, so the investigation begins to be tenser. After the first story, Generous Death, all the other 9 find Jenny in twist and turn of events, as many of the cases she investigates have somewhat of a direct link to her. You may find Jenny in a situation when she has to go to Kansas City, as a famous ranch from there is passed on to the Foundations, but certain events lead to another unexpected crime, which determines Jenny to solve yet another crime mystery.
About Confession and Twilight
The last in the series, Confession and Twilight present a lot of interesting situations out of which Jenny has to find a way out. Published in 1995, Confession depicts the story of a teenaged boy who claims that Geof, who Jenny married in the meanwhile, is actually his biological father. The boy is named David Mayer, and his purpose has nothing to do with the rejoicing in an emotional reunion with his father. Instead, knowing that Geof is a cop, he asks him to help him determine the true death of his adoptive parents. The policemen handling the case declared that it was simply a case of murder/suicide but David knows that Ron Mayer couldn’t have killed his wife and then himself. Jenny and Geof are lured into fabricated clues, placed by David himself, during which another crime is committed. This novel shows the author’s now grown views over her characters, as she fully delves into their psyches, as well as introducing a lot of captivating themes that set Confession as an actual novel compared with the previous ones.
Twilight was published in 1996 and was the last one out of a 10 book series. We’ll find Jenny Cain in a situation in which she has to organize Port Frederick’s Fall Festival but also has to deal with the controversial “God’s highway”, which is a bike/hiking trail that environmentalists don’t want to let go of. Jenny has a lot on her mind with the Christians opposing to the Halloween part of the festival, an environmental protester’s death as well as a direct assault on her which ultimately contribute to Jenny’s determination to go find the killer with the help of her husband.
These last few novels differ in style and writing from the first ones, Generous Death, Say No to Murder and No Body. The award winning author shows how she’s grown throughout the series, enabling her to create various twists and turns in the plot.
Jenny Cain’s stories on TV
Unfortunately, none of the 10 stories reached TV, although a lot of the events in the books can easily be transferred to original scripts. Of course, the author may have been offered such an opportunity, but we may never know if she turned it down. We would be interested in seeing how a Generous Death or Dead Crazy would like on screen, but until then, Nancy Pickard’s legacy continues on with the millions of fans worldwide who’ve shown great interest for the series.
Jenny Cain is a truly authentic character who keeps showing courage, integrity and more importantly, a sense of continuous curiosity towards the surrounding world. The author has built a strong female model for many readers to look at, and a nice and easy going script that will determine any reader to go through with the entire series. Nancy Pickard is an award winning US writer who not only managed creating mysterious crime scenes, but also shows a great attraction towards locale details, by placing the main character into charming landscapes and authentic American culture.Book Series In Order » Characters » Jenny Cain