Friday, March 19, 2010

Motherhood Is Murder - Diana Orgain

Motherhood Is Murder
A Maternal Instincts Mystery
Diana Orgain
Berkley Prime Crime


In addition to new motherhood – daughter Laurie is barely two months old – Kate Connolly has found a new calling. She wants to be a PI. In her estimation, it’s a great job for a mom. She can take her baby on stakeouts and interviews with her, the hours are flexible, and she won’t be faced with the prospect of going back to the corporate grind and leaving her child with others. Of course, there’s a downside, too. Like the fact that she doesn’t have any training or experience, and certainly no license. And, even though she was instrumental in solving a case when her daughter was only six weeks old (BUNDLE OF TROUBLE) the homicide detective in charge was less than thrilled at her amateur attempts.

One thing every new mom needs is a support system. By chance, Kate runs into a couple of women while at a baby specialty store who belong a mommy club. She decides to check them out, especially after they tell her that their next meeting will be a grown-ups dinner cruise on the San Francisco Bay. They barely make it to dessert when disaster strikes. The leader of the group, Helene, falls down a flight of stairs. Kate knows the news is very bad when she sees the medical examiner.

Maybe it was just an accident, but the more she learns about this group, the more motives she uncovers. For instance, Helene, the leader of the group, wasn’t a mom. That’s more than a little odd. Also on the cruise is a woman who was kicked out of the group weeks earlier. Another member fears her husband is having an affair. There’s the suggestion that Helene wasn’t the intended target, after all. It’s impossible for Kate not to involve herself in the investigation.

I’m still having trouble believing that a woman who desperately wants to be home with her new baby would think that being a PI is a great plan. Let alone that it’s a feasible plan. My doubts are only confirmed when Kate takes her child on an interview with the possible killer (she suspects he poisoned Helene before shoving her down the stairs) and then eats the lunch he prepares (he doesn’t eat) at then nurses the baby. Even an ambulance ride, a stomach pump, and the very real danger to the baby won’t deter her from her new career plans.

On the bright side, the mystery is an interesting one, with plenty of suspects and possible motives and red herrings to keep things interesting. The author begins each chapter with Kate’s current “To Do List,” which is a very creative way of reminding readers of certain points. This is most helpful to readers (like mommies, maybe?) who need to put down/pick up books often. For those readers who enjoy a good cozy but are not immersed in the Cult Of Mommy, the author does a good job of keeping the investigation in the foreground.

Rating: 6 ½
March 2010
ISBN# 978-0-425-23373-3 (paperback)


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