Title: The Twist and Shout Murder (A Swinging Sixties Mystery)
Author: Teresa Trent
Published on: 4 January 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery (Historical)
Dot Morgan is in her final semester at the Secretarial School. Her father decides to run for the city council so Dot joins the elite Camden Ladies Club as a campaign tactic. Barb Manning, the wife of Camden DA bosses around and blackmails Dot into doing ‘small’ jobs for the club. On Founder’s Day celebrations, Barb’s brother-in-law Arsen, flirts with Dot and later makes lecherous comments on her. He’s in a drunken state and that makes things even worse.
A storm warning sends the people of Camden into the basement. Dot is just about to run when she hears a crash. One of the bookshelves has toppled and below it lies Arsen – dead. Dot believes he was murdered but proving it won’t be as easy as it sounds…
It had been a long time since I read a historical mystery and this book was a breath of fresh air. I haven’t read a lot of historical mysteries set in the US so the concept of Hollywood, politics, glitz and glamor is something I haven’t come across in the books I have read so far.
Things that stood out the most in this book are: 1) Dot’s dedication to getting a good education – marriage might happen at a later stage but she wants to be financial independent 2) Dirty politics and how money plays an important rule in trying to bring down the less fortunate 3)Dot’s cousin Ellie’s dilemma of sleeping with her boyfriend of 5 years.
The story begins with Dot Morgan joining the Camden Ladies Club as a campaigning tactic for her father’s candidature at the city council elections. Barb Manning, the wife of Camden’s DA, blackmails Dot about an incident involving her father. Though the incident was a misunderstanding, Dot fears her father might lose the elections if rumors spread. She agrees to do whatever it takes – as long as it keeps her father’s name away from gaining the wrong attention.
But things take turn for worse when another candidate is found dead during a storm. Dot believes he was murdered while the victim’s family thinks otherwise. The victim is a Manning too – one of the town’s powerful family – and Dot’s interference is not something they appreciate. Morton Manning (Barb’s husband and the victim’s brother) makes things worse for Dot and her father. But Dot is stubborn does not take NO for an answer…
There are two side stories here: One is about a hit-and-run case and the other concerns Dot’s cousin Ellie. Ellie and her boyfriend Al have been dating for over five years now and Ellie wants to make a bigger commitment. But looks like Al doesn’t want to get married and Ellie feels sleeping with him might change things… Um!
I really loved the setting and the storytelling. Though it did seem like TMI at times, I enjoyed reading this book.
If you love reading historical cozy mysteries, you might want to give Teresa Trent’s The Twist and Shout Murder a try.
I received an ARC from Level Best Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.