It's Murder, My Son
A Mac Faraday Mystery by Lauren Carr
Review: Former Washington DC homicide detective Mac Faraday may be unfamiliar with his new surroundings as lord of a manor in the Maryland countryside, as it were, but he knows his way around a criminal investigation and he's suspicious about the conclusions the local cops have come to involving the death of a neighbor in It's Murder, My Son, the first mystery in this series by Lauren Carr.
Mac has just learned he is the illegitimate son of America's Queen of Mystery, Robin Spencer. Unfortunately, he only met her once in person some time ago when she needed a sample of his DNA to confirm his identity. She's now dead, but has left her estate to him, which includes a manor house along a lake, various other properties, several hundred million dollars, … and a journal. Robin's assistant, R. C. "Archie" Monday, is helping him get settled but he seems most interested in the details of the murder of a neighbor that took place during a snowstorm earlier that year, more especially so after Robin's — now his — dog Gnarly presents him with the head of a man. The rest of the body is found in an abandoned mine nearby, but the local chief of police seems curiously uninterested. All his years in homicide tell him something is amiss here, and just like Mickey Forsythe, the lead character featured in his mother's mysteries, he decides to do a little investigating on his own.
"Mac Faraday's first mystery at Spencer Manor was the case of the missing butter." It's a throwaway line that opens a chapter, but it's funny all the same, and It's Murder, My Son is filled with such lines. There's an effortless, often subtle, humor to the narrative that brightens the overall story. The premise — the son of a mystery writer essentially stepping into the shoes of her private investigator character — is also quite promising. The characters, including Gnarly, and setting are well developed and set the stage for more mystery to come. What doesn't work quite as well here is the murder investigation, which is somewhat overplotted and diffuse, with too many intersecting storylines and myriad interpersonal relationships that ultimately feel cluttered and weigh down the book. It's not that It's Murder, My Son isn't entertaining as it is; rather, there's a sense that the author is trying too hard to be clever, that the mystery itself could have been far more satisfying had the plot been slightly more focused.
Acknowledgment: Lauren Carr provided a copy of It's Murder, My Son for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Reunion to Die For
Five Star (Hardcover), June 2007
ISBN-13: 9781594145483; ISBN-10: 1594145482
Old Loves Die Hard
CreateSpace (Trade Paperback), April 2011
ISBN-13: 9781460935132; ISBN-10: 1460935136
Location(s) referenced in It's Murder, My Son: Maryland
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It's Murder, My Son by Lauren Carr — A Mac Faraday Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $14.99