Monday, May 14, 2012

Investigating Mothers

I know it's a little bit late for Mother's Day, but my brother and his wife had a baby last week, which made me think of all the mysteries there are out there featuring mothers with new babies.  Following is a list of some of my favorites.  Please feel free to add yours in the comments.

Orgain, Diana. The Maternal Instincts Mysteries:  Bundle of Trouble, Motherhood is Murder and Formula   for Murder.

 The series begins with protagonist Kate Connolly on maternity leave with her newborn daughter Laurie.  She can't imagine returning to work after six weeks, but she and her husband, Jim, really need two incomes in the expensive city of San Francisco.  When her mother-in-law hires a PI to find Jim's brother, Kate is decides to help him, and realizes that investigating is the ideal occupation for a mother.

Each of the three books in the series is juxtaposed with a month in Laurie's development.  Kate is a charming and determined heroine, who truly believes that both she and her daughter will suffer if she has to return to her office job.

Page, Katherine Hall.  The Faith Fairchild Mysteries.

There are twenty books in Hall's delightful series about caterer Faith Fairchild, beginning with The Body in the Belfry (1990), so I'm not going to list all the titles.  (You can find all the titles if you click on the author's name, above.)  Faith is married to Tom, an Episcopal minister who accepts a position in the village of Aleford, Massachusetts.  They have a five-month-old named Benjamin;  and Faith, who gave up a growing New York catering business when they moved, is a bit bored by small-town life until she finds a body, stabbed with a kitchen knife, in the church's belfry.

Faith has trouble settling into the small community, as she just doesn't fit into the villagers' idea of what a minister's wife should be.  Her discovery of a  young woman's body, stabbed with a kitchen knife, in the church's belfry does not aid this perception, especially when the bored Faith, who has a very well-developed sense of curiosity, decides to find out what happened.

By the end of book three, The Body in the Bouillon, Faith is making arrangements to take over a local catering company, and also discovers that she's expecting.  Daughter Amy first appears in book five, The Body in the Cast.

Waldman, Ayelet.  The Mommy-Track Mysteries:  Nursery Crimes, The Big Nap, A Playdate With Death, Death Gets a Time-Out, Murder Plays House, The Cradle Robbers and Bye-Bye, Black Sheep.

When we meet Juliet Applebaum, the former public defender is a  full-time mom and pregnant with her second child.  Her husband, Peter, sold a screenplay for an outrageous amount of money, so she doesn't need to go back to work.  But even though trying to get two-year-old Ruby into the best Hollywood preschool is more cutthroat than the California justice system, Juliet is bored.  So, when the  principal is killed in what-may-not-have-been an auto accident, she decides to find out what really happened.

During the course of the series, Juliet has another child, the family moves into a bigger house, and she hangs out a shingle as a private investigator with former cop Al Hockey.  Juliet is a wonderful character who struggles with her weight, and tries to stay sane while being a stay-at-home mom.


  1. Fun post! I enjoyed the roundup of mommie mysteries. One of the biggest challenges of writing a crime series is the decision of whether to include a child for the protagonist, which creates logistics problems for the character (as is does in real life). But clearly, these authors have risen to the challenge.

  2. L.J. Sellers's Detective Jackson has a little girl. Well, maybe not so little anymore.

    Diane Mott Davidson's character Goldie has a son.

    And, although not quite the same, Halle Ephron's AND BABY WILL FALL was the story of a mother-to-be's quest to prove her husband wasn't a murderer.

    Fun! Thanks, Marlyn.

  3. I realize I've morphed your original query to include males (Jackson) and older kids. Hope you don't mind.

  4. I realize I've morphed your original query to include males (Jackson) and older kids. Hope you don't mind.

  5. I am drawing a blank, sheesh! Maybe that means we need more of them!

  6. Thanks, all of you, for your comments! It was a fun post to write.

  7. Peg, I don't mind a bit! Thanks for your additions.

  8. Interesting! Thanks for sharing, Marlyn!


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