Monday, October 19, 2009

Review #17: Back to School Murder by Leslie Meier

Title: Back to School Murder

Author: Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone mysteries
Format: Library Loan
Publisher: Kensington Books

Rating: 3/5

Challenge: Book 2 in the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge hosted by Mysteries and My Musings.

My Review and Description:

These Lucy Stone mysteries have turned out to be a nice cozy surprise for this challenge. They are simple enough to get through quick, in between some meatier books, but still fun enough and mysterious enough to have a little whodunnit adventure. And don't you just love this cover? Unfortunately it's not the same cover that I checked out but I thought this one fit the Halloween mood a bit more.

When I selected the Lucy Stone series I thought they were in order of holiday but it turns out that it jumps months and years so this Back to School Murder that I thought was a prequel to the Trick or Treat Murder was actually two years later. Oh well, the rest seem to loosely fall in to place with each holiday, the span of time is just longer. No worries.

The synopsis here is quite simple. A new ambitious vice principal is hailed as a hero when she rescues a disabled child from the elementary school moments before an explosion goes off. Turns out someone planted a bomb.

Well, Lucy Stone, now working part-time at The Pennysaver (the local newspaper) and mom to 4 busy kids, can't seem to keep her nose out of this event. Her children go to that school and for some reason to this amateur sleuth, that new Vice Principal seems a little fishy.

Sure enough, that VP turns up dead. And Lucy is on it, the crime solving that is. This one had a bit more spunk and depth. More details, more suspects, more town history. And you get to know Lucy a bit more. She is not just the passive SAHM she was in the last book. She takes a class at the local college, gets seduced by her instructor there, and still gets dinner on the table by 6:00. Her new found role at the paper thrusts her into situations where snooping around is required and she is perfect for it. Inquisitive and unassuming, the characters in question don't mind opening up to her.

I did chuckle a bit at the conservative dynamic of her and her husband. With lines like, " Why should we have to pitch in? The kids and the house are your responsibility. I don't ask you to hammer shingles for me!" ( he's not exactly jumping for joy that she is working part-time).
All and all you get a fairly realistic account of the give and take of a marriage and the gender roles that tend to fall upon even the most liberal of us.

Once again, I rate this at a 3. No need to rush out and buy it but still worth reading if you are in the mood for a simple, fun whodunnit. The cast of characters are comfortable and relatable and the New England town is easy to imagine.

Happy Reading! Stay tuned for Turkey Day Murder.

* red headed book child


Rhiannon Hart said...

That's a great Halloweeny cover! I've never heard of these books. I need to read more mysteries. I notice The Thirteenth Tale is one of your favourites and I just read that and enjoyed it.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I do have to agree, I love that cover. The book does sound fun. I like these quick reads when I want to get through a book fast before another greatly detailed one, kind of clean the slate a little for the next book. These sound like just those. Great Review.