Friday, April 23, 2010

Motherhood is Murder by Diana Orgain

book cover

Motherhood is Murder
by Diana Orgain

Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
First Released: 2010

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Source: Review copy offered by author and sent from publisher.

Back Cover Description (slightly modified):
First-time mom Kate Connolly may have found the perfect work-from-home mommy job: private investigator. After all, the hours are flexible, she can bring the baby along on stakeouts, and if you're going to be up all night anyway, you might as well solve some crimes...

Nights out are hard to come by for new parents. So when Kate’s new mommy club, Roo & You, holds a dinner cruise, she and her husband leave baby Laurie with Kate’s mom and join the grown-ups for some fine dining on the San Francisco Bay.

But when one of the cofounders of Roo & You takes a fatal spill down a staircase, the police department crashes the party. Suddenly every mom and her man has a motive. Armed with a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Private Investigating and the help of her PI mentor, Kate’s on deck to solve the mystery--but a killer’s determined to make her rue the day she joined the first-time-mom’s club...

Motherhood is Murder is a humorous "who-done-it" mystery. It's the second novel in the series, but you don't need to have read the first book to understand this one. Though I don't think reading the books out of order spoiled anything in the first mystery, I'd suggest reading the books in order for maximum enjoyment.

The novel was well-written and fast-paced. The world-building was excellent and brought the story alive in my imagination. Kate and her family & friends were engaging and interesting. The characters were realistic, through most didn't come across as particularly deep (which is fine for a humorous novel). There was a lot of "first-time mom" humor.

Due to the whole up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-feeding-the-baby motherhood thing, Kate was often scatterbrained and sometimes drew the wrong conclusion in the heat of the moment. It was a clever mystery, but I did have the who and how figured out halfway through the mystery--long before Kate, though she beat me to the why.

There was some swearing (primarily the OMG type) and a very minor amount of mild cussing. There was no sex in the novel. Overall, I'd recommend this novel was well-written, fairly clean reading. New mommies and moms with young kids will probably enjoy this novel the most.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
To Do:
1. Buy diapers.
2. Make Laurie's 2-month check.
3. Find good "how to" book for PI business.
4. Find dress for dinner cruise.
5. Ask Mom to babysit.
6. Exercise.

I stared into the bathroom mirror and wondered how I’d failed to bring a hairbrush along on the San Francisco Bay dinner cruise. I ran my hands down the length of my mop, trying to tame the frizzies. If I put a little water on the problem, would it help or make it worse?

The door to the restroom flew open. Sara, one of the moms from my new mommy group, appeared. She looked worse than I did. Her lipstick was smudged and her hair had the volume of a lion’s mane.

“Oh my God! Kate! I didn’t know you were here.” She took a step back toward the door, then hesitated, looking like she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

She was so prim and proper at dinner. Probably doesn’t like to be seen looking so rumpled, but hey, if you can’t look bad in the ladies room then there’s no safe haven.

Sara ran her hands along the front of her black cocktail dress, which was wrinkled and wet, then squinted at her reflection. She jumped into action, grabbing a paper towel and fixing the smeared lipstick. “Your husband’s been looking everywhere for you. The captain’s called an ‘all hands on deck.’”

“My hands too?” I asked, wiggling my fingers under the faucet to activate the automatic water flow.

Sara scrunched her mouth in disapproval.

“I guess I’m not up on ship rules,” I said to her reflection.

“Everyone has to go back to their tables, now!” She grabbed another paper towel and frantically scrubbed at the wet section of her dress.

I stopped fussing with my hair and shifted my gaze from Sara’s reflection to Sara.

If everyone was supposed to be back to their tables, what was she doing here?

“Why?” I asked.

“There’s been an accident.”

Goose bumps rose on my arms. “What kind of accident?”

“Helene fell down the back staircase.” Sara motioned me toward the door. “Come on, come on.

Read more from chapter one.

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