Monday, December 31, 2018

Despite Predictability, Small-Town Murder Mystery Is an Unputdownable Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Like the seedy, 1-star motel where she works, Juliet Townsend is "halfway to anywhere that mattered, stuck" (15).  Although she had grand dreams of leaving her hometown of Midway, Indiana, she's still there ten years after graduating high school.  Working as a hotel housekeeper, living with her mother, and seeing the same faces every day makes for a dreary, banal existence.  

Then, Madeline Bell walks into the Mid-Night Inn.  Wearing beautifully tailored clothes and a gleaming diamond on her finger, Juliet's old friend and rival looks like a movie star. What she's doing at a rundown hotel like the Mid-Night, Juliet can't fathom.  She doesn't get a chance to find out, either, as Madeline's dead body is found the next morning hanging from a railing.  Why would a beautiful, wealthy woman like that commit suicide?  When evidence of murder comes to light, Juliet finds herself a suspect in the killing of the woman to whom she's always played second fiddle.  In order to clear her name, the housekeeper will have to find out who really killed Madeline Bell before her own body is found swinging from the rafters.

Little Pretty Things, a murder mystery by Lori Rader-Day, tells a taut, unputdownable story about two very different women tied to the same dead-end town.  While the tale is depressing as all get-out, it's also an engrossing mystery that I couldn't stop reading.  That's saying something since I saw where the plot was heading almost from the start.  Even though it's predictable, the novel is a fast-paced page turner that will resonate with anyone who, like Juliet, feels stuck in a life she never saw herself living.  Despite some disturbing subject matter, I enjoyed this one.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other novels by Lori Rader-Day, including Under a Dark Sky and The Day I Died)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another fine find

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