The Twist and Shout Murder: A Swinging Sixties Mystery
by Teresa Trent
About Twist and Shout Murder
The Twist and Shout Murder: A Swinging Sixties Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Texas
Historia (January 4, 2022)
Paperback : 212 pages
ISBN-10 : 1685120709
ISBN-13 : 978-1685120702
Digital ASIN : B09NQWZTGR
In 1962, Dot Morgan was told the best thing she could do besides being a nurse or teacher was to learn to type. While attending secretarial school, she decides to rub elbows with an elite ladies’ club to help her father with a struggling campaign for city council. Instead of getting the help she sought, Dot is thrown into a world of adultery, deceit, and murder when one of the town’s sons is found dead.
Time to put that 45 on the record player and bring out your best dance moves in The Twist and Shout Murder.
Set in 1962, just one year after I was born, Dot Morgan is a small-town girl with dreams. For herself, that means secretarial school but for her dad, it means a seat on the city council. He works at the courthouse and has always been a champion for the common man. Though he is no politician, when a seat on the council opens up Dot and her mom feel he is the perfect man for the job. To help his campaign Dot decides to join the Camden Ladies Club. The women in the group are married to the most influential men in town so getting her dad’s name out to them has to help his chances of winning. Dot had no idea what she was getting herself into especially when the brother-in-law of the club’s president decides to throw his hat in the ring for the same council seat.
Then the man is found dead. Police believe it was a terrible accident but Dot believes it was murder. She hesitates to voice her theories fearing she and her dad will become the prime suspects. Knowing she had nothing to do with killing anyone she starts looking into the case herself but there could be some dire consequences for doing so.
Being the first book in the series we are introduced to a lot of interesting characters. Dot is an appealing protagonist. She is smart and is in her last semester of secretarial school. OMG Shorthand Nightmares!! She is very close to her parents but lives with her friend Ellie who has been in a long-term romance that has hit a bit of a snag. Dot’s parents are very low-key, happy and comfortable in their middle-class life.
Then there are the members of the ladies club. Barb is the president of the club and is very overbearing and has no trouble taking credit for other people’s work. Her husband is a mover and shaker about town. When he says jump, people say how high. His brother really has no direction so getting him on the town council has become their goal. He also really has no moral compass but some women think he is better than sliced bread. It could also have a lot to do with why he ended up dead. All the characters were believable and true to life. I really like Dot. She has a huge heart.
A lot of hot topics of the ’60s are touched on throughout the book. Pre-martial sex, abortions, and women working outside the home all find their place within the story along with a good dose of adultery, secrets, and lies all leading up to murder. Ms. Trent twists and tangles it all together in a mystery the grabbed my attention and held on tight. Dot really impressed me as she tackled some crazy and maddening things. The ’60s are a very interesting time in history for women and I think the author does a nice job fictionally shining a light on this time.
The murder mystery isn’t an easy solve either. There are some clear suspects and my one critique is there could have been many more. The victim was a real jerk to a lot of people. That being said my focus was drawn to one person so I was totally caught off guard by the final twist. I do love it when that happens.
The Twist and Shout Murder has set this series off on a groovy start. Dot is just starting her real-world journey through the Swinging Sixties and I am excited to see where Ms. Trent takes her and the rest of the core characters next. I am looking forward to visiting Camden Texas again soon.
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About Teresa Trent
Teresa Trent writes historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, romance, and short stories. She lives in South Texas with her husband and son with Down syndrome and splits her time between writing and caretaking.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”