I completly get the guilt as repressed anger element here. It was probably the case with my mother, but that passed. I'm trying so hard to get passed the anger with my father. Maybe the trying is what is hindering it.
All I have to establish in this story is that she entertains the idea of staying here and that she has identified the hotel manager and police woman as worthy of more of her attention than others in the town, and more than she would usually give.
She uses her psychologist background to give the impression of being very approachable and friendly and makes people feel at ease quickly (helpful for an investigator for people to tell her their secrets), but she doesn’t ever share much of herself. She encourages people to talk about themselves (which we all love and are happy to do).
Another option I thought of was to have the ghost of the mother tell the protagonist her story. Scenes where the mother appears as the protagonist explores the town, the hotel, investigates the death.
I have a long list of characters and social issues that are representative of the vibe of the western world at the moment, and I can’ pick them up and put them down as I need them.
As much as I love these shows, when it comes down to it, I feel bad about killing people (as a fiction writer). But kill (fictional) people I must.
In a first world way, things are tough at the moment. They’ve been tough in one way or another for a while. It all came to a head and ended up have a good old, ugly, snotty cry.
When I get very wordy in an attempt to clarify something through added explanation I can easily confuse the situation more.
Is the protagonist in law enforcement/legal fraternity, or an amateur? Are they established in the community or new to this place? Are they good at solving crimes or bad at it and manage to solve it in spite or themselves, or have a great sidekick?