A TV producer gets more trouble than she planned after she brings together the suspects of a long-unsolved murder mystery. TV producer Laurie Moran knows what it's like to lose a loved one to murder. Five years ago, a stranger walked up to her husband Greg, shot him and told their 3-year-old boy Tommy that next he was killing his mother next. That's the last that has been heard from the mysterious killer, but the family still waits for the next crime to take place. So when Laurie has the chance to do a show that features unsolved crimes, she eagerly takes it on.
Twenty years ago, socialite Betsy Powell was killed in her bedroom. Her daughter and three college friends were sleeping downstairs and the police always considered the girls to be the most likely suspects. Now Laurie has convinced the now-grown women to return to the home to rehash the case and hopefully uncover the killer. Their decision is helped along by the $50,000 fee each of them will receive from the production company. Along with another $250,000 each from Betsy's husband Robert.
Each of the four women has something to hide and could have easily killed Betsy. Her daughter Claire hasn't been back to the house since her death and no one knows that Robert had been having sex with her as a teenager, an act encouraged by Betsy. Regina Callari is a struggling real estate agent is divorced and is hiding the fact that when her father killed himself, he had written a note blaming Robert and Betsy. He had been having an affair with Betsy and she had encouraged him to let Robert invest his life savings..which Robert ultimately lost. Alison Schaefer is working as a pharmacist in Cleveland. She married first year pro quarterback Rod just after Betsy's death. But when he was injured in an accident, she gave up her plans of medical school and used her school money for her care. She remembers sleepwalking the night of Betsy's death and is afraid she may have committed the murder. And then there is struggling actress Nina Craig. Her mother Muriel had been dating Robert Powell before he met Betsy and she had been friends with Claire. Nina had introduced Robert and Betsy and her mother blamed her for later getting dumped by Robert so he could marry Betsy.
The four women spend several days at Robert Powell's mansion as the TV show is being filmed. Aside from the crew, the only other people in house are Robert and his longtime housekeeper Jane Novak. Jane had known Betsy when they were both broke and working at a local movie theater. Betsy hired her friend when she married Robert, but what she didn't know was that Jane was in love with Robert. In fact, she's stayed working for him all of these years so she could be near him.
Muriel had accompanied her daughter to the production and she and Robert seemed to have rekindled their relationship. That budding romance forced Jane into showing her hand and she tried to kill Muriel with a pillow. She was stopped by Robert, who suddenly realized that Jane had killed his wife Betsy twenty years ago. He throws her off the balcony into the pool, knowing she can't swim. She dies before anyone can reach her. But just as the drama seems to be coming to a close, one of the groundskeepers shows up holding a gun on Laurie's son Tommy. He confesses that he had shot Greg five years ago because her father ruined his life by arresting him for a DUI, which sent him back to prison. He had gotten a job at the estate once he knew Laurie was going to be there and planned to kill her son in front of her. He starts to fire his weapon, but a visiting police officer kills him. Unfortunately, the killer's bullet goes through a nearby window and kills Robert. After several days, the production finishes and the women are paid.
Six months later, the four women meet again to catch up. Claire is getting psychological help for the abuse suffered at the hands of Robert. Regina has a nicer office and is turning her business around. Alison is headed to medical school and her husband has decided that he wants to become a pharmacist. As for Nina, she gave all her money to Muriel, with the condition that they never speak again. The case, and the personal turmoil surrounding it, are finally over for everyone.
Best part of story, including ending:
Most books that have a TV show as part of the plot tend to use the cameras as a crutch. But this story seemed very realistic and while the show was the reason they all returned, it wasn't the most important part of the plot.
Best scene in story:
The best scene was the final one, in which you get an idea of what had happened to each character in the months following the case. It was nice to see the impact the show had on them and I wish more books offered that bit of insight about their characters.
Opinion about the main character:
Laurie Moran is a pretty realistic TV producer. Driven, passionate about her work and still able to compartmentalize her working and personal lives. But despite the stresses of her job, she is still a wonderful mother.