BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review & Excerpt of Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club by Liz Stauffer

Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Format Read: Kindle book
Source: Kindle freebie, downloaded at request of publicist for review
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository*
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission for purchases made through these links.

Blurb from publicist:

Things are not always what they seem in Liz Stauffer’s fast paced book of murder, mystery, and intrigue. When the "breakfast club" ladies of idyllic Mount Penn see bruises on Clare Ballard's pretty face, they suspect her hot-headed husband of abusing her, but the truth is much more complicated. When violence disrupts this Appalachian village's lazy routine, the ladies, led by the irascible Lillie Mae Harris, jump feet first into danger as bodies appear, neighbors disappear, and Clare is arrested for murder. Follow Lillie Mae and the other "breakfast club" ladies, who, armed with casseroles and pastries, help the police uncover the deep secrets this town hides beneath its perfect facade.

Bea's Thoughts:

A small town murder, ordinary citizens trying to solve a murder, a Southern setting, I was curious to see how this story played out.

There are a mess full of characters but we don't really get to know Lillie Mae, the lead, or any of the others but my goodness is Lillie Mae a Nosy Nelly. Actually, she alternated between sticking her nose in everyone's business and wishing people would go away and let her do her work (she apparently works for the local paper as a columnist). It also amazed me how many people were involved in trying to catch the killer and how much civilian assistance the police solicited. The latter is most unusual and didn't feel realistic at all to me.

The plot is twisty and turny with lots of little offshoots. I guessed early on who the villain was, though not the motivation, because Stauffer singled out the responsible party early, or maybe I've watched too much "Murder, She Wrote".  :D At times I needed a cheat sheet to keep track of everything going on and all of the people involved. Despite, or maybe because of, the complexity, it was a fairly quick read.

I really enjoyed the small town feel and the mildly Southern setting, the different threads, and the realistic touch of big town troubles existing in a small town. Often times, people have a delusion that small towns are free of the troubles that larger towns and cities have but that's just not true. I'd have liked to learn more about the town, it's industry, the other inhabitants (it sometimes felt as if the people in the story were the town's sole inhabitants), and more about the characters in generals. Lillie Mae and the others are sketched in and the titular breakfast club is vague at best; is it an actual club, can any female come to breakfast, is it a church group, what? All we know is that the female leads in this book also meet once a week for breakfast and they are, seemingly, friends.

One thing that irritated me was all of the typos in the book and especially in the last chapter where there are so many errors I wondered if the copy editor and proofreader took the day off. 

"Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club" is a pleasant way to pass several hours and a good debut.



Typing up a storm on her on her new Apple laptop, lost in the world of her own tale, Lillie Mae was jarred back to reality by the chime of her doorbell. Peeking out the window by her desk, she saw Clare at the front door, fidgeting like a two-year-old boy who needs to pee.
“Coming,” Lillie Mae called.
“Is it Roger?” Clare spurted when Lillie Mae opened the door.
“I don’t know, Clare,” Lillie Mae said, knowing exactly what Clare was asking. “I was never close enough to the body to see who it was, and when I asked Charlie, he wouldn’t say. Come in and sit down.”
Lillie Mae reached her hand out to Clare and guided her into the room. “Sit, dear,” Lillie Mae said. “Let me get you some coffee.”
“Don’t leave me, please,” Clare said, taking hold of Lillie Mae’s arm and pulling her down beside her on the sofa. “I’m crazy with worry. Too much has happened the last couple of days, and now this.” 
Clare’s eyes filled with tears.  “Roger hasn’t been home since yesterday, Lillie Mae. He hasn’t talked to Billy at all. Not even a phone call. There is something terribly wrong.”
“That doesn’t mean that Roger’s dead,” Lillie Mae said. “Don’t jump to conclusions.”
“But it’s the other things, too. The phone calls. Billy. Just everything.”
Lillie Mae suspected by everything she was referring to Dale Beavers.
“What’s going on Clare? Tell me.”
“You were there when Mabel Goody stopped by the house yesterday looking for Roger.”
Lillie Mae nodded. “I went home shortly after she left.”
“Then Billy went out,” Clare said. “He thought he knew where Patrick might have gone, so he went up the mountain to check.”
“Did he find Patrick?”
“He said he didn’t, and he had no reason to lie.”
  “Where did you go, Clare?”
“How do you know I went somewhere?”
“I saw you. I remembered I was wearing your apron and was bringing it back.”
Clare stared at Lillie Mae as if deciding how much to tell her. “Where I went is incidental,” she finally said. “It’s what happened after I got back home that’s more important.”
“What was that?” Lillie Mae asked, her curiosity piqued.
“Billy was in the kitchen finishing up dinner. Believe it or not,” Clare said a half smile on her lips, “the boy likes to cook. Anyway, he was stirring the gravy and asked me to mash the potatoes.”
“You said he had gone looking for Patrick Goody but didn’t find him.”
“That’s right,” Clare said. “He went up to the old hangout close to High Mount, but nobody was there. It’s an old shack half falling down. You’ve seen it.”
Lillie Mae nodded.
“Billy was sure somebody had been there recently, though. Said there been a scuffle. Blood was everywhere.”
“Roger?” Lillie Mae asked.
“I don’t know, but I thought the same thing,” Clare said. “Billy wanted to call Charlie Warren, but I told him no, saying it might look bad for Patrick.”
“Makes sense,” Lillie Mae said.
“Billy agreed. Said he guess he watched too much TV. He’s such a good boy, Lillie Mae.”
“Billy’s a wonderful boy, Clare. You should be proud.”
  “We had a nice supper. Billy talked about school and then reminisced about his high school years. I guess his father not being at dinner brought up special memories from the past.”
  A frown furrowed Clare’s forehead. “It was at the end of supper that the phone rang. I thought it might be Roger, so I rushed to answer it. But it wasn’t.”
“Who was it?” Lillie Mae asked.
“I don’t know,” Clare said. “But it wasn’t Roger. The voice was weird, muffled. I’m not sure if it was a man or woman.” Clare paled as if reliving the experience. “I saw you, the voice murmured. You’re going to be sorry.”



  1. I've been looking forward to reading this. It will be interesting to see if I spot the killer as easily as you did. And I'm sorry to hear about the proofreading errors; those are always annoying.

    1. I'm curious to see what you think. It's been getting good reviews elsewhere.

  2. I'm really wanting to read this one, I love a good small town mystery. It sucks about the proofreading errors though, but I'm glad you enjoyed the book.
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages


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