07 May 2012

Just finished reading...

50 % Off Murder (Good Buy Girls #1) by Josie Belle (Berkley Prime Crime, 3 April 2012).*

Our heroine, Maggie Gerber, is one of the founding members of The Good Buy Girls, a self-titled group of women who thrive on bargain-hunting.  Having grown up in St. Stanley, she's quite familiar with the Virginia community. 

At a GBG meeting, Maggie is surprised by the news that Sam Collins, her high-school crush/nemesis, has taken on the post of sheriff after retiring from the Richmond police force.  She is still miffed because Sam used to call her 'Carrot-top" (shades of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe?), though it's not until much later in the story that we learn the real reason she resents him. 
When Maggie helps end Claire Fremont, the librarian, carry some boxes down to the storage area in the library's basement, they find the body of a man lying in a pool of blood, with a knife sticking out of his chest.  Even though Claire is a member of the Good Buy Girls, Maggie has never felt really close to her, so she's librarian tells her she used to date the dead man, and asks Maggie not to tell anyone.
Still, Claire is arrested for the crime.  Maggie and the rest of the Girls are certain that she's innocent, and they hire local attorney and wunderkind  Max Button Maggie and her friends are a charming, if somewhat eccentric group of women, a description which also suits the general population of St. Stanley.  How can  reader not care about a widowed protagonist, who has taken in her niece and great-nephew while her nephew-in-law is deployed to Afghanistan?
"Josie Belle" is a pseudonym for the prolific Jenn McKinlay, author of The Cupcake Bakery mysteries as well as the Library Lover's mysteries, and will definitely be enjoyed by fans of both those series.
*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book to review.

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