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What Mommy Said: An Arlene Flynn Mystery Hardcover – November 1, 1997

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (November 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312156871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312156879
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,377,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Nine-year-old Sebastian Duncan returns from a near-death experience with the startling news that his mother Jenny appeared to him and said that, no, she didn't take an accidental overdose of sedatives at a house party last year--she was murdered. After this arresting opening, though, the story seems to go into cardiac arrest. Jenny's mother, Elizabeth Hollander, is the only person Sebastian's told his story to, and since she won't let the D.A.'s investigator Arlene Flynn (A Grand Night for Murder, 1995, etc.) interview Sebastian directly, Flynn is stuck with an unlovely slog through motives and alibis for a dozen party guests. When none of the dramatis personae has any more personality than a checker, puzzles like this stand or fall on ingenuity alone, and this one falls with a thump. Instead of developing his plot, Jeffers grafts on another one--a murdered widow whose killer took the trouble to carry her body out of her house--that shows Flynn's talent for close observation en route to a disappointing solution, and pads the whole m‚lange with reveries of classical music and more quotations than Bartlett's. The net effect is of sharing the company of an intelligent, well- read detective who's telling you everything that happens to be going through her head. Enough mystery for one and a half short stories. The susurrus of references to the longer genre may be a plus for some mystery-lovers, although it put at least one of them into a deep sleep. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In Stone County, New York nine year old Sebastian Duncan suffers a near death experience when he drowns in Ichabod Crane Lake. While on the other side, Sebastian meets Jennifer, his dead mother, a suicide victim from an overdose of drugs. Jennifer tells her son he needs to tell Granny Elizabeth that she was murdered. When Sebastian returns to the living, he tells his Granny Elizabeth what his mother related to him.
Elizabeth manages to get the case reopened with special investigator Arlene Flynn heading up the probe. Her focus is on Jennifer's now wealthy spouse, James, who rumors state had been two-timing his spouse. Arlene is also investigating the death by strangulation of a rich woman, whose son was just paroled from prison. Pressure increases on Arlene to rapidly resolve both cases.
WHAT MOMMY SAID never seems to make up its mind as to what type of book it wants to be. Arlene's allusions to Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse and how they would handle investigations and clues surprisingly takes away from the story line, leaving a choppy feel. H. Paul Jeffers shows bursts of talent, but needs better focus as he has done in some of his previous works like A GRAND NIGHT FOR MURDER.
Harriet Klausner
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