Teresa Trent, The Twist and Shout Murder (2022)

I admit that I didn’t choose this Netgalley ARC wisely: I liked the title and the cover and I was in the mood for a cozy mystery. Cozy it was indeed, in the 1960s it was also, with glaring allusions to pre-marriage sex, contraception and abortion, and working women. But I had somehow the idea that it was a British cozy mystery (swinging London, I suppose) and I was sort of shocked that it was set in a small town in Texas.

Once I reconciled to the setting, it was OK. Not exceptional but entertaining for a few hours. The characters are a bit cliché, although they duly undergo some evolution over the course of the book. Bad guys are duly bad, and rest assured that they will find their comeuppance in the end (I’m not spoiling anything!). I wasn’t really surprised when the final twist occurred, and I wasn’t totally won over by the main character Dot, who must be a distant cousin of Pollyanna.

Now, you may ask: why did you not DNF this book? Because I wanted to know the end (or at least, check if my suspicions were right) and because it was entertaining and easy. Gin Jenny from Reading The End had a fascinating post recently about 3 stars books. I understand her point completely, but this average book doesn’t fall into the out-of-my-comfort-zone books: I must confess that it was pure laziness. Had it come at a moment when I was full of energy, I would probably have DNF-ed it, or more precisely, I wouldn’t even have downloaded the ARC because I would have checked the fine print and discovered that it was indeed not set in London, and that I wasn’t probably the best audience for this book. But because life is about highs and lows, I’m not ready to break up with the 3 stars books just yet.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.

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