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Mother Daughter Murder Night

by Nina Simon

Nina Simon’s debut novel, Mother Daughter Murder Night, has murder, suspects, twists, and family drama.

Three strong women, Lana Rubicon, grandmother, Beth, her daughter, and mother to teenaged Jack are forced to spend time together; something they haven’t done since Beth abruptly left home as a teenager years before. Lana, undergoing cancer treatment, needs Beth’s help in her recovery, and moves from her upscale L.A. home to Beth’s almost off the grid cabin on Monterey Bay.

The family drama that ensues (how much redecorating is too much?) is intertwined with a murder that takes place in the neighbouring slough, where Jack finds a dead body while kayaking. When Jack becomes the prime suspect, Lana steps in and starts her own investigation, gradually dragging Beth and Jack into the intrigue.

Lana uses her high-powered business savvy to dig deep into the mystery surrounding the dead man. This causes friction as Beth thinks Lana should focus on her recovery, but Lana is not used to being idle, nor being told that she can’t do something. Donning wigs and her high heels, she sets out to find the truth by using her business acumen to sift through land trust documents and interrogate potential suspects.

As more and more lies, vendettas, and disputes within the community are uncovered, Beth and Jack join in the amateur sleuthing, helping in the investigation, but also dredging up unresolved issues between Beth and Lana. With the tension rising, the snooping heads into dangerous territory and the three women must learn to depend on one another.

This is a nice, easy read with a well put together murder and a good dose of family drama that unfolds, balancing the intrigue with the tension among the main characters. I look forward to future novels by this author.