Still Kicking A Lainie Lovett Mystery, by Judith Arnold
Four out of five stars
As a prolific book reviewer I am frequently given opportunities to review books. Recently, many of those opportunities have been in regards to murder mysteries penned by women where the main character is female. Most of them are a combination of humor with the malice, some certainly better done than others. While they all of course have significant differences in style, there are many similarities between them.
Other than the obvious murder, the main character is a suspect where they feel forced to solve the crime themselves in order to clear their name. The main character then does some free-lance sleuthing, often with comic results as quite logically, they are not very good at the acts of a spy or a cat burglar. The stories also have some form of obligatory romantic entanglement. This book is in that world.
Lainie Lovett is a player on an older female soccer team. While the players are generally mothers in their forties with older children, they have lost none of their competitive fire. They practice and play hard and their bodies are toned. When the husband of one of the players, a developer, is murdered by a nail gun at one of his job sites, the rather incompetent local police force books Lainie as an accessory to the murder.
Lainie is an elementary school teacher and the charge turns her life into a mess, she is suspended from every part of her life. The deceased was disliked by everyone, his employees, environmental groups and even his son struggles to say good things about him. The victim was also wealthy, so there is no shortage of potential suspects or motives.
The victim was clearly in love with his work and that sets the premise for the best joke in the book. When a surgically enhanced professional escort attempts to seduce him, his response was to tell her he wanted to “show her his tools.” Naturally, her thought was of sexual apparatus, but he took her to a construction site and showed her the collection of power tools that they used in the work.
While not all of the jokes are this good, many are rather flat, this book does keep you interested. Given the themes like a woman dressing for dates and other occasions, wondering about what underwear to purchase and wear on a date, a woman dealing with other women, ranking women by the size, large and small, of their chests, this is a book that is far more attractive to females than males. Except the chest part of course. Throw in dealing with two somewhat oppressive and domineering mothers (one an in-law) and most of the female cliché boxes have been checked.