Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Number Three

Number Three by Mary W. Mahoney
6/1/23;  258 pages
M.W. Mahoney Publishing
Three, Two, One Murder Series #1

Number Three by Mary W. Mahoney is a recommended light murder mystery/courtroom drama. This reads like a cozy mystery. In the opening readers learn that Laurel Morrow has been indicted for murdering her husband Bob. What follows is, first, the story about all the events before the indictment as told by Laurel to a reporter she knew from high school, Catherine (Cat) Carroll. The second part part of the novel follows the trial from Cat's point-of-view. The Epilogue is told through a third point-of-view.

Laurel tells Cat that at Bob's insistence, he, Laurel, and their three young sons move from Boston to the wealthy, exclusive suburban community of Northington, an area they can barely afford. Their marriage is already in trouble and Laurel feels constantly under pressure to keep Bob calm so he doesn't explode and yell at her. The rural setting and snobbish demeanor of the local women where acceptance is based on status enforces an isolation on the family. Their older neighbor, Pearl, is very welcoming and helps Laurel out when she can. She greets them when they move in and immediately helps with protection against mosquitos. The situation is intolerable for Laurel, but she feels trapped.

The plot will hold your attention and the short novel moves along at an even pace to the epilogue. Part two through Cat's point-of-view not only follows the trial but focuses on her attraction to Jack Heggerty, another journalist following the trial, along with her other issues. The final denouement wasn't that shocking to me as it was an obvious answer to the question who-dun-it. 

Laurel and Cat are both realistic characters and relatable on some level. I have to admit that I didn't really like either of these characters. They both seemed a bit shallow. Although I felt sympathetic to Laurel's situation feeling trapped and helpless, she also grated on my nerves. She just felt whiny and complaining. Expect mosquitos and bugs in the country or even if you have a yard, it is a fact of life. (And I'm wondering who mowed their lawn.) When you own a house there are always repairs and upkeep which seem to hit all at once. If the wealthy, status conscious women don't want to be your friend, go find the normal people. They probably know better than to attend the school meetings or hang out at the exclusive beach. There is always a job that can be found. It may be in retail and not the high paying job you want, but it would be a way out. There are also places you can go for help and escape the abuse.

I'm an outlier compared to others who have reviewed Number Three so it probably wasn't a good fit for me. Thanks to M.W. Mahoney Publishing for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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