An out-of-control daughter’s wild accusations drag her mother into a murder case.
Hardly has Vanessa Fortune’s corpse begun cooling at the bottom of the Crooked River Gorge when Bianca Serrano announces to anyone who wants to listen, and several who don’t, that Vanessa was pushed over the edge by her grieving widower. Russell County District Attorney Gil Fortune is too busy angling for the Oregon attorney general’s job to do more than brush her off, but Bianca, 19, who stopped using the name Louise because she didn’t care for it, keeps right on going. In a flash of inspiration, she invites Gil to speak at Jane Serrano’s Murder of the Month Club because his recent experiences give him special expertise in the relation between fictional and nonfictional crime. What’s a mother to do? Join forces with the other Club members—In Cold Blood fan Minnie Salter, canine-detective fan Alix Boudreau and bookstore owner Laurence Thornton’s close-mouthed grandson Tyler, already hooked on Travis McGee at 15—to head off Bianca’s silliest follies, like snooping around in Gil’s house, by getting there first. In no time at all, the police have arrested Bianca for murder, and the Club swings into high gear.
Main’s debut features many high-spirited alarums and excursions but no clues and no real detection. When Jane tries to kill time by begging the cornered murderer to explain himself, everything he tells her comes as a complete surprise.