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230 pages, Kindle Edition
Published March 14, 2023
If I Had a Hammer is the second book in author Teresa Trent’s nostalgia-inducing Swinging Sixties Mystery series. It is a miracle of a throwback to a different time and place. Dot is a determined and plucky heroine, operating within the confines of the times before women’s lib or even the summer of love, and she and her friends are questioning those constraints.Dot is fearless in her pursuit of answers, especially in the face of so much male superiority and constant brushoffs. She’s repeatedly threatened and told to mind her own business, but she doesn’t back down. She perseveres in her horribly hostile work environment because she knows the hit her resume will take would be devastating to finding another job. She’s cautious toward her potential love interest, reported Ben Dalton, unsure of his true interest. Is it for herself or for the insider information she has as a witness to certain events that keeps him coming around?
The plot gets more complicated as the body count rises, alibis fall apart, and a major suspect ends up dead. The resolution ultimately surprised me; I never believed the final culprit would be the guilty party. My favorite aspect of the story was the attention to period details that replicated the atmosphere of the early ‘60s. The dialogue perfectly reflected the attitudes of the time, and even the main character’s inner monologue aligned. I felt transported back in time.With its likable main character and moodily recreated time period, I recommend IF I HAD A HAMMER to readers who enjoy historical mysteries, stories concurrent with the JFK assassination, or settings in small-town Texas.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.