Mother-Daughter Murder Night

Morrow. Sept. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063315044. $27.99. M
DEBUT One of the things Beth regrets most in life is that she doesn’t have a closer relationship with her mother, Lana Rubicon. That all changes, however, when Lana is forced to take a hiatus from her high-powered Los Angeles real-estate career to deal with cancer and subsequently moves in with Beth and her granddaughter Jack. When Jack stumbles across a dead body while leading a kayaking tour of the nearby slough and becomes the local police’s main suspect, Lana finds another way of engaging with her daughter and granddaughter by doing a bit of snooping. Can it really be true that the family that sleuths together, stays together? Simon’s dazzling debut delivers everything a mystery fan could crave, including a realistically nuanced cast of characters, a vividly evoked coastal California setting, writing imbued with a deliciously desiccated sense of wit, and a perfectly plotted murder with enough red herrings deftly dropped in to confound the most experienced mystery reader.
VERDICT Insightful and frequently funny analysis of family dynamics wrapped up in a cleverly crafted cozy crime novel.
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