Book Review: The Twist and Shout Murder #HistoricalNovelSociety

Here is the first of seven reviews I did for the May issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. This is a fun, cozy mystery set in the 60s.


First in the Swinging Sixties mystery series, this is a light cozy murder mystery set in the small town of Camden, Texas, in 1962. Dot Morgan’s career choices as a young woman seem to be nurse, teacher, or secretary. Dot wants to go to business school, but it’s difficult for women to get admitted, so she opts for secretarial school. While attending classes, she encourages her father to run for city council. He ends up running against Anson Manning, the wayward son of the town’s wealthiest family. Dot decides to join the Camden Ladies’ Club to try and gain political support for her father’s campaign. Unfortunately, she gets everything but help and is faced with a murder mystery when one of the town’s elite is found dead.

This is an entertaining read full of small-town politics, gossip, and scandal. Dot is a strong character who dreams of a career in business, a tough goal for women in the 1960s. The supporting cast is engaging and fun. While some of the characters are over the top, anyone who has lived in a small town knows that this is pretty close to reality. The mystery has some twists and turns, and I felt transported to the 1960s through music, movies, and social references. For example, Dot eats at a hamburger stand with golden arches for the first time and sees The Music Man in the theater. The ‘60s are just beginning, and so is this series. I look forward to more installments.

I received a free copy of this book from Historia via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.



Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou mystery series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all.


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