Since we celebrate Mother's Day in the month of May, I thought it appropriate to review a book about a new mom who decides to become a Private Investigator. This is the first in a series of 6 books. It is available on Amazon for a Kindle price of $5.99
The story centres on Kate Connolly who is heavily pregnant (2 days overdue, in fact) when the story begins. The writer dives into the action - the first chapter takes us through a phone call from the Medical Examiner informing Kate and her husband, Jim, that his brother George may be dead, and the birth of their daughter Laurie. A few days later they realise the dead man found in the San Francisco Bay is not Kate's brother-in-law, but the husband of her high school friend, Michelle. However, George is now a suspect in the murder investigation, and the police also suspect Kate and her husband of having had a hand in the affair. From the outset, Kate is worried as to the whereabouts of George, who is missing, and she makes discreet inquiries in her free time.
Things get more complex with the body count rising - Michelle and her husband's first wife Svetlana also fall victim to the murderer. Mrs Gloria Avery (mother of the first victim, Brad, who was fished out of the Bay) hires a PI named Galigani, who unfortunately suffers a heart attack outside Kate's house. This draws Kate, who has been having second thoughts about returning to her corporate desk after six weeks of maternity leave, more actively into the case. Since Galigani is unable to work, she undertakes his work and starts interviewing suspects. Despite having no prior experience in detective work, or a license, she manages to solve the case.
I have read many cosy mysteries. Actually, there are so many authors in that genre it is quite difficult to separate the sub-standard work from those worth buying. In fact, I must confess that I picked this up because it was on a free promotion. However, I am planning on buying another of the series because I enjoyed this so much... and let me tell you why.
First and foremost, the story moves at a good pace and is witty and easy to read. The characters are likeable and draw you into their lives. I loved Kate, and I think all mothers will be able to relate to her. She keeps a checklist (which is updated in every chapter) which is hilarious:
- Help Jim find a job
- Find George AGAIN
- Figure out what Michelle's reports mean
- Research daycare for Laurie
- Prep to return to the office
- Stock up on pumped milk
It really adds new meaning to multi-tasking! In addition to the murder investigation, I loved the ongoing thread of dealing with a new baby and other post-pregnancy issues. Her joints hurt, she can't make the breast pump work, her memory is weak, her feet are still bloated so she can only fit into one pair of shoes, her nice clothes are too small, she's losing hair, she doesn't want to abandon her daughter and return to work, she feels a failure because a nurse suggests she may have depression, she feels a failure because she forgets to give her daughter 'tummy time'... and the list goes on. She even has to take her newborn with her when she interviews suspects - once into a bar!
Despite all this, she soldiers on and not only solves the murder but gets the hang of being a great mom. I found myself, as a reader and a mom, cheering her on and sharing in her little accomplishments (even if it is only being able to put the button on in her slacks or get the breast pump to work).
Writing a successful mystery story is actually not an easy task, and it falls flat if the reader is able to solve the case before the heroine does. So, I was quite satisfied with the plot construction of this one. There were many clues and plenty of red herrings littered across the path. I was able to pick up on important facts but I was unable to guess the murderer's identity. And, at the end of the day, that is the most important thing!
So, if you are a fan of mystery stories, and a mom as well, then this is worth trying out!