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Nursery Crimes by Ayelet Waldman

Nursery Crimes (2000)

by Ayelet Waldman

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Waldman, Ayelet
Nursery Crimes

As fluff goes, this is a dandelion seed riding its parachute across a playground. So why couldn’t I put this down? The characters are charming. That’s how you know they are the “good” guys. The villains are cliché and stereotypical making them very familiar and adding coziness to the mood. The very pregnant crime buster has a charming husband with whom she has a charming relationship. Her child is imperfectly charming, as are her mothering skills. They all have the right attitude and a buoyancy that while it may not keep them from harm at least guarantees another day. Mysteries and murders are solved almost matter-of-factly and the book is short enough to guarantee a desire for the next installment in the Mommy-Track Mystery Series.
Recommended March 2007
  dawsong | Jun 15, 2015 |
It was a quick read like other mysteries but ultimately I found the narrator too annoying. Won't read other books in the series. ( )
  BondLamberty | Jul 28, 2014 |
While pregnant with her second child, Juliet investigates the murder of an elite preschool's principal.

This was fun, but very light (the mystery was easily seen...). ( )
  kayceel | Feb 9, 2011 |
This is the first in the Mommy-Track mystery series. These are very fast-paced, fun reads! The protagonist, Juliet Applebaum, a bored, SAHM and former federal public defender is very appealing and refreshing. In this first book in the series she becomes involved in investigating the death of the director of a prestigious pre-school when she suspects that it is more than the simple hit-and-run accident that the police have deemed it.

Heavily pregnant and mother of a 3-yr-old, it seems that Juliet may have just bitten off more than she can chew.

These books are like candy to me! I gobble each one rapidly and greedily. I'm trying to pace myself through this series; otherwise I somehow feel a slight pang of guilt for overindulgence! ( )
  bookwoman247 | Sep 24, 2010 |
Not a very satisfying beginning. Rough narration and too familiar relationships (female detective; rough heavy eating cop). Too obvious ending with not real intrigue in process. The marginal mother gimmick does not work for me. May give it one more installment on the theory that this was a poor start of a good series. ( )
  Darrol | Feb 26, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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I'm not sure whose fault is was, Ruby's or mine, that we didn't get in.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 042518000X, Mass Market Paperback)

Nursery Crimes, progeny of first-time author Ayelet Waldman, bills itself as a mommy track mystery, the first in a series featuring Juliet Applebaum, a 5-foot-tall dynamo who gave up a career as a public defender to stay home with her daughter Ruby. Pregnant with her second child, Juliet is at loose ends and dissatisfied:
Anyone who tells you that having a child doesn't completely and irrevocable ruin your life is lying. As soon as that damp little bundle of poop and neediness lands in your lap, it's all over. Everything changes. Your relationship is destroyed. Your looks are shot. Your productivity is devastated. And you get stupid. Dense. Thick. Pregnancy and lactation make you dumb. That's a proven scientific fact.
When Ruby, a whiner and grabber par excellence, doesn't make the cut for Heart's Song, L.A.'s most prestigious preschool, Juliet and her husband Peter shrug it off with good grace. But when the school's founder, Abigail Hathaway, is killed in what the police think is a hit-and-run accident, Juliet's convinced something nefarious is afoot. Did Bruce LeCrone, a movie studio powerhouse with a flashpoint temper, kill Abigail after his son was denied admission? What about Daniel Mooney, Abigail's fourth husband--an egocentric new ager who's been communing with a voluptuous redhead? As Juliet discovers that everyone has secrets to keep, she realizes being a stay-at-home-mom is rather more risky than she'd thought.

Waldman's novel is breezy and engaging. Both Juliet's frustration ("Now, suddenly, just because I had doffed my lawyer's wig and donned a housewife's kerchief, people like Detective Carswell thought they could pat me on the head and send me on my way") and her witty asides on the idiosyncrasies of life in southern California (think Kinsey Millhone with a diaper bag) lend ballast to an admittedly slim plot. Effortlessly adept at sketching both character and place, Waldman falters slightly when it comes to action. Too often, she relies on awkward summaries to provide readers with crucial information, and Juliet's deductions occasionally seem abrupt and unsubstantiated. But these narrative hiccups don't detract from a thoroughly pleasant read. One minor cavil: Waldman's rendition of 2-year-old Ruby's speech is irritatingly coy (dinner at an Italian restaurant becomes "fed-up-cino alfwedo"). Since Juliet herself so staunchly opposes the saccharine school of motherhood, must her child descend to its cloying depths? --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:29 -0400)

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Juliet Applebaum, a former public defender, investigates the hit-and-run death of the principal of an exclusive Hollywood preschool.

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