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Big Little Lies: 05/07/21
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is centered on a death during a fundraiser at a school in Sydney, Australia. While it sounds like the set up for a mystery, it isn't. Instead it's a melodrama dressed up as literary fiction. The "mystery" aspect of it takes place in the first and last twenty five pages, for a total of about fifty pages in a four hundred page novel.
The focus instead is on a group of women — mothers of the children who attend the school. There are first wives, second wives, single mothers, and the men who they love, are married to, sleep with, and so forth.
Everyone is unhappy. Everyone is classist. Everyone is a Karen or a Chad by modern day slang. It's a predictable train wreck that we already know will end in a man dying. We know this from the first twenty-five or so pages. For me, this sort of set up is unsatisfying. For a more thrilling novel written in this fashion, I recommend Those People by Louise Chandlish (2019).
Looking just at the death, the narrational structure of this novel is a gender swapped version of "Lullaby of Broadway" — the original dark, blood sacrifice take on the nightlife of New York from Gold Diggers of 1935.