Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Beginner's Guide to Murder

A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps
7/22/21; 368 pages

A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps is a recommended murder mystery.

Three senior women who are all in their seventies, Meg, Daphne, and Grace are meeting for coffee after a Pilates class when a teenage girl named Nina comes running in looking for help. The women are going to but first she goes into the restroom. Then a toad-like man enters the shop, pursuing her. The women recognize he is dangerous and get rid of him. After this they come up with a plan to get Nina out of the shop in order to protect her. When they hear Nina's story they are all determined to protect her.

Chapters alternate between the points of view of Meg, Grace, Daphne, and Nina showing the current situation and also jumping back in time reveal their backstories. They are all sympathetic characters with backstories full of challenges. After a slow start the plot does become a more exciting dark comedy of sorts, although the plot could have been tightened up. In this case, the alternating chapters and time periods didn't work as smoothly as they do in other novels and the writing was lacking in my opinion. A three star rating makes me an outlier here but I really felt this novel was entertaining, but simply okay.

Trafficking of women is a serious topic. Busting up human trafficking rings is frequently in the news. For all the excuses and reasons to not involve the police immediately, in this day and age they should have been. The plot is too improbable for me to accept that murder would be easier. At this point in time you could go to the police and be believed and protected at least in the USA.  I couldn't shake off the overwhelming urge to yell at these characters to go to the police, find a secure woman's shelter, get the help and protection that are available.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

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