Plot or Premise
Misty Patterson has problems: an abusive domineering husband and amnesia from her childhood. And now she has a new problem: her husband gets abusive again and she conks him with an Eskimo statue, hard enough seemingly to hurt but not to kill. Then she blacks out. He’s found dead a few days later after having been hit a second time with the same statue and dumped in the lake. And Misty doesn’t know what happened. Enter her lawyer, Nina Reilly, who is newly separated from her husband, newly separated from her neat legal firm, and new to the Lake Tahoe area. And her idea of a perfect introduction to the area is NOT a high-stakes murder case where everyone thinks Misty did it. Maybe even Misty herself.
What I Liked
The Lake Tahoe community comes alive as do some of the characters — Nina, herself; Misty; Nina’s assistant. Lots of interesting facts about the area and the impact of the lake on a dead body. Well-written, all the characters are real, and adequately developed for the story. In fact, it’s an impressive array: Nina’s ex-husband on the peripheries along with her brother, sister-in-law, and Nina’s son; Paul, her investigator who’s warm for her form; a string of Misty’s lovers and their very jealous wives and girlfriends; Misty’s parents; and a couple of doctors who are trying to help Misty remember her past. A few loose threads are left for the next story in the “series”, if it does indeed become a series. And, on the legal side, the solution is handled in an interesting courtroom finale that is not like simple Perry Mason reruns. A good beginning for “Perry O’Shaughnessy”, which is a pseudonym for two sisters: Pamela (a lawyer) and Mary O’Shaughnessy (a writer).
What I Didn’t Like
The point-of-view switches from Misty to Nina to Paul in various chapters, and the switch does not really develop Misty’s or Paul’s character enough to justify the switch. Unfortunately, I figured out the three key elements of the “mystery” before the end of the story. Didn’t expect the ending, at least not exactly, but I did expect the “baddie”. There are a couple of places where it is a little heavy on the “legal” side, interpreting case law, which is a likely result of one of the two authors being a lawyer.