Berkley, July 2004, 23.95, 320 pp.
She was a public defender but after giving birth to two children, Juliet Appleton quit to become a full time mother. When she became bored, she and her friend Al opened up their own private investigate business that still doesn't pay their salaries. When Juliet discovers that she is pregnant for a third time, she realizes it time to move into a house with lots of rooms. Her husband Peter, a horror screenwriter, agrees with her. Juliet finds the perfect house for her family.
After inspecting the home and loving every inch of it, Juliet looks in the guest house where she finds Alicia Felix, the owner's sister, dead in the bathtub, her body knifed countless times. When she talks to Felix about buying the home he tells her he is grieving for his sister and is not ready to move. Juliet agrees to represent Felix and his lover Farzad in their dealings with the police; she and Farzad agree that she will be given special consideration to buy the house if she finds the killer. It's not easy being eight months pregnant and conducting a homicide investigation but Juliet tries anyway.
Ayelet Waldman's mommy Track mysteries get progressively feistier and wittier mainly due to the situations the protagonist finds herself in. Juliet is outrageous as she investigates and sometimes with her two children accompanying her interviews a suspect who might yield information that will lead to the killer. MURDER PLAYS HOUSE is a well thought out mystery that uses a social problem as the basis for the killing. Readers will adore Juliet and her children.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner