Laura Hankin’s debut novel Happy & You Know It (Berkley) is a delightful little mystery about Park Avenue mommies. They meet weekly, with babies in tow, for what they call a play group; but it’s more like group therapy – with wine and cheese.

When a struggling musician named Claire, recently heartbroken and ousted from a rock band, is hired to entertain the children with songs and activities, things begin to fray. Unwittingly, she stumbles onto information she wishes she hadn’t – about who’s cheating on whom and what’s really in their medicine cabinets.

In their drive to be fit and perfect, the women have fallen prey to a dangerous scam, and Claire is determined to find the perpetrator. She’s depressed, she’s broke, she drinks too much and now suddenly she’s the Nancy Drew of the Upper East Side.

While Claire’s busy, readers are learning more about each of the women, so that even though Claire is ostensibly our protagonist, it may be hard to decide who to root for.

Poor Amana, whose baby won’t quit screaming? She’s frustrated and lonely and not a little bit guilty about making her husband the sole breadwinner.

Whitney, with her ostentatious generosity and fixation with her Instagram account? She seems to have it all, but she aches with a loneliness she dulls with a remarkably bad decision.

Maybe Gwen, whose husband’s bad habits have driven her not a little bit crazy, or beatific Vicki, who spends group time placidly nursing her baby.

Sorting out the messes her new friends have created – and those they fell into through no fault of their own – gives Claire back the confidence she lost when her band replaced her. Finally, she can think clearly enough to fix some stuff of her own, too.

In real life, the events in Happy & You Know It would have terrible consequences, but Hankin keeps the story light, with a few laughs, some heartfelt empathy, and a touch of Schadenfreude.

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Laura Hankin has written for McSweeney’s and HuffPost, among other publications. The viral videos that she creates and stars in with her comedy duo, Feminarchy, have been featured in Now This, The New York Times and Funny or Die. She grew up in Washington, D.C., attended Princeton University and now lives in New York City, where she has performed off-Broadway, acted onscreen and sung to far too many babies.