The Six-Week Solution

Written by Paula Darnell
Review by Catherine Kullmann

The Six-Week Solution is set in 1950s Nevada, where out-of-towners from Hollywood stars to politicians’ wives flock to establish six-week residencies near Reno in order to take advantage of the state’s liberal divorce laws. The Circle E Ranch is one of a number of guest ranches whose owners provide accommodation to would-be divorcées and attest to the necessary residence at the subsequent divorce hearing.

When one guest of the Circle E suffers a fatal car accident, and newly arrived Mary Garrison narrowly escapes with her life in later attacks, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron, newly promoted to detective, strives to protect Mary while searching for the person behind the assaults. The action takes us from Nevada to California and back, with unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the end.

The story alternates between Ben’s and Mary’s points of view and this, together with an overuse of protagonists’ first names, hinders total immersion in the plot. Darnell ably conveys the strain of the enforced six-week stay with a group of strangers who all have their own baggage and have nothing in common other than their wish for a quickie divorce. An interesting reminder of an almost forgotten piece of Americana.