“The characters in this story are fascinating, and for the side of humor that the author delivers, there is definitely a dark side to go along with it.” —Suspense Magazine
“Murder on Tour, a Richmond, VA book group that focuses each meeting on mysteries that share a geographic setting, provides the milieu for King’s entertaining debut…Readers will find more substance here than in most cozies.” —Publishers Weekly
Title: Murder at the Book Group
Author: Maggie King
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Story Setting: Richmond, Virginia
Published by: Gallery Books Published
Date: December 30, 2014
Sold By: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
About the Story: Hazel Rose never dreamed that the murder mystery book group she and her friend Carlene started would stage a real murder. Nevertheless, the normally composed Carlene is unusually angry and rattled one night during a book group discussion and dies after drinking cyanide-spiked tea. Despite a suicide note, Hazel is skeptical; Carlene never seemed suicidal—she was busy making plans for her future. Incidentally, Carlene was married to Hazel’s ex-husband, and Hazel has always suspected there might be something more to her past than she let on. How much does anyone really know about Carlene Arness? And did she die by her own hand or someone else’s? Hazel begins a search for the truth that produces no shortage of motives, as she unearths the past that Carlene took great pains to hide. And most of those motives belong to the members of her very own book group… Featuring memorable characters and a wicked sense of humor, MURDER AT THE BOOK GROUP shows the darker side of a book club where reading isn’t about pleasure—it’s about payback.
My Thoughts: This is the first book that Maggie King has published. It’s an entertaining cozy mystery with just a bit more. I liked the idea of having a murder occur within a book group that reviews and critiques mystery novels. Some of the members are published writers.
As Hazel Rose moves through her investigation, the author created curiosity on my part. Who did it? The read had some romance, and some suspense blended with the overall goal in this story—to nail the perpetrator.
The members of the book club are quite the colorful group. As Hazel Rose sets to unravel who dunit (Carlene’s death), she quite methodically sets her questions to envelope (it’s her idea of cycling). She takes her friend Lucy and live-in friend into confidence as she works through who would be the most likely suspect. I enjoyed Hazel’s unravelling of who might have done it, reminding me of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie novels I’ve read.
Each time Hazel comes up with a suspect that truly looks like they did the deed, I feel she was a bit too investigative for her own physical health. For surely, if she finds the murderer, would they keep her alive?
I didn’t figure out who did the deed, so was delightfully surprised when Hazel uncovered the murderer and how all the seemingly random bits of information complete the puzzle.
I enjoyed the read and applaud Maggie King’s debut novel. I look forward to following Hazel Rose’s sleuthing in further works by the author.
About the Author: Maggie King’s debut mystery, Murder at the Book Group, is published by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Sisters in Crime anthology Virginia is for Mysteries, published by Koehler Books. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. She did a stint as an administrator at the Kent-Valentine House in Richmond, Virginia, the setting for “A Not So Genteel Murder.” Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. www.maggieking.com