As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Sphere, 5 March 2020. ISBN: 978-0-7515-7668-9 (PB)
Three thirty-something former college room-mates meet for the first
time in years at a luxury spa resort where a fourth former roomie's wedding is
about to take place. Their lives have followed completely different paths, and
each one of them harbours a secret sadness. Also, at the resort are an older
woman and a young one with a baby; they too have secret sadness’s of their own.
A lot of alcohol is consumed, old grudges are aired, confidences are shared.
And then there's a murder.
And for some reason known only to them, four of the women confess to the
killing. The fifth is the young woman with the baby, and she has disappeared.
What a tangle the police have
to unravel! Throw into the mix the loud demands of a bossy wedding planner and
the emotional baggage all the women carried with them, and the result is a
sometimes tear-jerking, often witty, always entertaining mystery wrapped around
the kind of women-triumphing-over-life's-slings-and-arrows novel made popular
by the likes of Marian Keyes and Jodie Picoult.
All the characters, including
the men on the fringes of this female-dominated world, are so real that I
half-expected to bump into them in the street. There's successful,
sophisticated Kate, publicly dumped by her long-term partner in the lobby of
the resort; harassed Ginger, juggling two young children with a third, teenage
one who refuses to communicate with her; disillusioned Emily, who has so little
self-worth that she picks up a man on the plane; much-married Lulu, who has
found true love late in life and is now afraid she is losing it; and fragile
Sydney, whose baby Lydia is her whole world.
The spa resort is almost
obscenely luxurious, conspicuous consumption in solid form: every whim catered
for, every mess cleared up in seconds, every self-indulgence available at the
click of a finger, all at an exorbitant price, of course. And it comes across
in almost tactile detail.
The women's individual
stories, and with them the motivation for both the murder and the confessions,
unfold through the eyes of each of them in turn, interleaved with transcripts
of the investigating detective's interviews with each of them and several other
people at the resort. It all weaves together into a pattern as complex as a
spider's web, and well laced with the kind of human emotion that invariably
surfaces at a wedding. It isn't great literature; instead, it's a jolly good
read that will make you laugh and cry.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Gina LaManna originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, has also called
Italy and Los Angeles home. At the moment she lives nine blocks from the beach
and sometimes runs marathons. After studying numbers and equations in college,
she realized multiple choice tests were just not for her and began writing
books instead. She loves cappuccino foam and whipped cream and would subsist
solely on sprinkles if possible. She has one imaginary dog.Gina also writes the Mini Pie the Spy! books,
under pen name, Libby LaManna, a childrens series featuring an
over-enthusiastic little detective, similar in style to Junie B. Jones.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half
of them crime fiction.