Series: Laura Murphy Mystery #1
Format Read: Kindle Book
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 19, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from goodreads:
Laura Murphy, psychology professor, thinks there's nothing she likes better than coffee and donuts on a summer morning until she says yes to dinner with a Canadian biker and finds herself and her date suspects in the murder of her college's president. Laura's friend, the detective assigned the case, asks her to help him find out who on the small upstate New York college campus may be a killer. The murder appears to be wrapped up in some unsavory happenings on the lake where Laura lives. A fish kill and raw sewage seeping into the water along with the apparent drowning suicide of a faculty member complicate the hunt for the killer. And then things become personal. The killer makes a threatening phone call to Laura. With a tornado bearing down on the area and the killer intent upon silencing her, Laura's sleuthing work may come too late to save her and her biker from a watery grave. This title is published by Lesley A. Diehl and is distributed worldwide by Untreed Reads.
I do like cozy mysteries. I like mysteries period but cozies are appealing. They're well, cozy, not graphic or political, and have settings I enjoy. This is set at a college in New York and despite the cheesy cartoon cover, the blurb appealed.
Dr. Laura Murphy is a professor of psychology, somewhere in the late 30's or early 40's (an older heroine, yay!), divorced with a grown son, a good friend and nosy, nosy, nosy. She meddles, she pokes, she sticks her nose in. Her friends didn't seem to mind but her many of co-workers and colleagues did and I think I would. I got a kick out of her house being home base and grand central station. People dropped in at literally all hours of the day and night. It was convenient and helped move the story along. It helped that her house was on a lake. :) The house served as a meeting place for Laura to discuss with friends, the murders and their investigation, including police officer Der. Yep, one of her friends is a local police officer and in charge of the investigation. He initially invites her in to the investigation, then rues it, but he makes use of her willingness to help.
Laura had several thoughtless and stupid moments, such as deciding without any proof that someone is the killer then attacking him. But she's not all that good at martial arts and only embarrasses herself. From that inauspicious moment, a romance is born. :D
The mystery is clever, and I was kept guessing as to the killer's identity until shortly before the reveal. Diehl writes with wit and an eye for detail and creates believable characters that I would want to hang out with. The college setting and political academics felt real and was enjoyable to read. There are some some subplots involving Laura's romance, her friend Annie and her burgeoning romance, and a new friendship with another professor's wife. Diehl weaves them into all in an engaging mix. The story dragged a few times and Laura's meddling could be irritating but it was a good story and I will probably read more if this becomes a series.
I did have one complaint. So. many. proofreading. errors. Not the worst I've read but more than enough to be noticeable. There were typos, missing letters, wrong words used, and the wrong character's name was used at least once. They were distracting and annoying but nothing that couldn't be easily cleaned up for the next edition.
Verdict? A solid, enjoyable story that will keep your attention.
Like me, my protagonists choose to live their lives close to nature.
From the deep, green river valleys and tree-covered mountains of upstate New York to the palm-treed pastures of the Big Lake Country in Florida, these women have found their homes and their hearts in rural America.
These plucky snoops are joined by a transplant from Connecticut, Eve Appel, who moves to rural Florida to set up a consignment shop with her best friend and partner, Madeleine Boudreau.
All these amateur sleuths yearn for the simple, artless existence of hard work coupled with rustic pleasure.
That’s why they live away from big cities, but murder and violence have a way of stalking us, even our plucky heroines, who think they’ve avoided life’s perils.