Useless, snobby, lording it over their inferiors, the queen-bee moms of Ivy Woods Drive, an unique cul-de-sac in a D.C. suburb, spend a lot of their autumn planning their Halloween block celebration. (For some motive, it’s the occasion of the yr.) However in response to an unnamed character in Tara Laskowski’s THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR (Graydon Home, 340 pp. paper, $16.99), by the point this October’s celebration is over, “one among us shall be lifeless.”
The guide, a cultured and entertaining homage to “Big Little Lies” and “Determined Housewives,” begins seven weeks earlier than Halloween. The Ivy 5, because the moms name themselves, are in a state of frenzy. What’s going to they put on? How will they enhance? “Assume essentially the most wonderful, epic, terrifying Halloween decorations within the county,” one says.
However Theresa Pressley, who has simply moved to Ivy Woods together with her husband and teenage daughter, senses that every one will not be effectively. For one factor, there are solely 4 Ivies; the fifth is lacking. Why gained’t anybody discuss her? What did she do? (What did the opposite 4 do? “It’s been 13 years,” an nameless individual calling herself “Ghost Woman” says in a message to a neighborhood watch group. “That is the Halloween I take revenge.”)
Quickly Theresa is awarded a coveted bejeweled pin within the form of an ivy leaf, marking her entrée into this nest of vipers. Earlier than the autumn is out, we’ll be immersed not simply in murder, but in addition in adultery, faux identities, bullying and folks locking different individuals in barns. The denouement is bonkers, however satisfying.
Not that Theresa is essentially innocent. After she buys blueberry-apricot tarts from the shop and pretends they’re selfmade, we surprise what else she’s mendacity about. “What number of hours do you might have?” she says to herself, when somebody asks her if she has any secrets and techniques. However out loud all she says is, “I’m afraid I’m simply boring previous me.”