By Laura Alden
Published by Obsidian
Laura Alden gives us a second installation of the PTA Murders. Who knew that Wisconsin could be hazardous to your health?
Beth Kennedy is a single mom with 2 kids that she loves. She makes sure to come to her kid’s hockey games, attends school functions, manages her home, owns and manages a children’s book store, and is secretary of the PTA. Still she finds time to solve murders. I say murders because this is the second book from Laura Alden in which Beth is impressed into solving a murder because the local sheriff’s office is getting nowhere fast.
In this PTA mystery the local nice guy is murder in the school parking lot after a PTA meeting, but no one can imagine why because everyone genuinely liked him. Beth doesn’t want to get involved, but when she starts losing business at the book store because local do gooders think one of her new employees is a murderer, Beth is compelled to find the real killer to clear an innocent name and get business back to normal.
The PTA murders are not for serious mystery novel fans. Even the casual fan enjoys trying to figure out whodunit before they get to the end of the book, but Alden doesn’t give you that opportunity. Alden does her best to throw you off the scent of the killer giving mildly compelling reasons for others to be the culprit, but the reader is not introduced to the killer in the beginning so how can they ever be considered.
In actuality there seems to be little intrigue and a whole lot of family, boyfriend, PTA interaction with only a small amount being useful to the case at hand. With all of the preceding said however, for those of who just like to sit down and lose themselves in someone else’s story without trying to figure things out this is a great book. The main character, Beth, and her sidekick, Marina, are likable and easy to relate to. And her peripheral characters meld well with the story and its main characters. Alden really does a great job of creating characters like local busybodies and PTA parents that you actually hate, probably because we all know someone like them. I really was more interested in the families Thanksgiving plans, the PTA meetings, the book store, and her budding relationship than I was with the mystery itself.
Needless to say in the end this is a fun and easy book to read, but don’t expect a mind shattering mystery. She presents us with a super mom but not such a super sleuth.