Monday, April 16, 2012
50% Off Murder by Josie Belle
Maggie Gerber was one of the founders of the Good Buy Girls twenty years earlier, and now she and her group of friends in St. Stanley, Virginia are experts at finding bargains. They may have to fend off Maggie's archenemy, Summer Phillips, now and then, but they're all mature women in their thirties and forties. What's a little ice cream in the face at that age? It's not as bad as a cake knife in the chest, as when Maggie and librarian Claire Freemont find a man's body in the library.
Maggie never told anyone, not even her best friend, that she and Sam Collins were romantically involved for a short time in high school. So, when Sam returns to town as the new sheriff, none of her friends understand why she's so determined to antagonize the man. Maggie's feelings toward Sam aren't very helpful when it comes to helping her friend Claire. Sam's only been back in town a week when he has to arrest Claire for killing the man in the library basement. Maggie has two reasons to find the real killer. She's determined to prove that Claire is innocent, and she's determined to prove that Sam is wrong.
50% Off Murder successfully launches a new series filled with a terrific cast of characters. It's a treat to see a mature group of women use their knowledge of the town and their business skills to look for a killer. And, Maggie is a wonderful amateur sleuth. She's a widow, sharing her home with her niece, Sandy, and her little boy while Sandy's husband serves in Afghanistan and she goes to school. She's a strong, independent woman, with just a few misconceptions.
It might be easy to guess whodunnit in this mystery, but it's worth reading for the humor and the cast of characters. Maggie's interactions with Summer Phillips and Sheriff Sam Collins are funny. The author manages to keep this mystery on track, while adding fun scenes along the way. Josie Belle's 50% Off Murder is 100% captivating and enjoyable.
(Josie Belle is a pseudonym for author Jenn McKinlay. Jenn's website is www.jennmckinlay.com)
50% Off Murder by Josie Belle. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425247020 (paperback), 277p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.