The Women’s Club
Michael Crawley and Laurie Clayton
MaxCrime/John Blake, Sept 2010, paperback (£6.99).
This is how The Women’s Club is described on the cover and on Amazon : “When Jack Hale invested in Celia's advertising agency, it was not because he had faith in her abilities – it was because she's his daughter. But, suddenly, she's an inexplicable success. When he takes her out to dinner to celebrate, they witness a daring murder, committed in full public view. There's no way the killer could have escaped without a precisely orchestrated series of improbable events …or were they just very, very lucky? Is it really possible that there is a female conspiracy, dedicated to ridding the world of evil – or even just inconvenient – men? Jack must risk everything to uncover the truth about The Women's Club.”
This novel describes these, and subsequent events in New York City. Jack is a widower who is guilty about his wife’s death – he’s been a workaholic all his life and did not pay her much attention, though he gave her lots of money. Now he’s retired he is bored, rich and wants to know his daughter better. The daughter has mixed attitudes to her father. After the two of them witness the murder described in the blurb above, Jack becomes romantically interested in Anne, the police officer investigating the crime.
Much of the novel describes various women who are in unsatisfactory relationships with, or are otherwise treated meanly by, men. These men begin to die. Who is behind this? And so on.
I did not enjoy this novel at all. It’s bland, poorly written, clunky and 100 per cent predictable. Events are described superficially with no attempt at realistic detail. On the positive side, it is very easy to read and has an unflagging pace. Even so, I have to admit I could not bear to continue with it after reading the first third or so – I skimmed the rest of the book, which was more of the same, and the ending turned out exactly as I’d thought.
I was mildly curious about the authors as I had not heard of them before; there is no mention of the novel at the "MaxCrime" section of the publisher's website. I soon discovered that the authors are a couple, the female half of which writes romantic fiction and “erotica” (eg Black Lace novels) under the name of Madeline Moore . There is an interview with her here, in which she describes writing this book, among other things.
I read a publisher's copy of this novel, kindly given to me by Karen of Euro Crime.