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Plotting at the PTA (Obsidian Mystery) [Mass Market Paperback]

Laura Alden

Price: 4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Plotting at the PTA Beth Kennedy--a PTA secretary, children's bookstore owner, and newly single mom--works to find a killer who used bees to murder one of her regular customers, while investigating the death of a friend's great-niece decades earlier. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun for a light read, 3 1/2 stars 9 Aug 2012
By CJ-MO - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Beth Kennedy takes a vacation from running her children's bookstore to spend time with her kids, but then has a full to-do list waiting for her when she returns. One overdue task is delivering books to customers that have placed special orders. However, when Beth arrives at the reclusive Amy Jacobson's house to deliver her books, she learns the young woman has died from an allergic reaction to bee stings. Beth is horrified and after asking around a little about Amy, she is surprised to discover a possible connection between Amy's death and a long ago tragedy. Beth goes to the police, but they consider both cases closed and definitely unrelated. That's when Beth uses the people skills she's gained from making it through the politically charged PTA meetings at her children's school to use in getting to the bottom of the two cases.

This light, cozy series is getting better with each book. Beth is starting to stand up for herself more, although she still lets some of the PTA officers, especially her nemesis Claudia Wolff, bully her at times. Beth can always depend on her best friend Marina whenever she needs help with a case or just needs a friend. Marina's loyalty is her best quality. Marina can sometimes be a little grating, but she has matured and encourages Beth to be more assertive. The quirky mother of four is a drama queen and may break out into a Southern, German, or some other accent at any time, but she always has Beth's best interests at heart, and Beth feels the same about Marina. At one point in the book, someone close to Beth criticizes Marina, and it is wonderful that the sometimes timid Beth doesn't hesitate to defend her best friend.

In between PTA meetings, running a bookstore, and raising her two children, Beth somehow finds time to investigate two cases, and she makes a good amateur sleuth. Her boyfriend Evan Garrett doesn't approve, but Beth feels compelled to help those in need, and I'm glad she stands her ground and sticks with the investigation. The book starts to drag a bit in the middle, but gets better as Beth does more investigating. The author cleverly ties in the tragic event of a teenager drowning that occurred in the small Wisconsin town 20 years previously with Amy's death. This adds depth to the plot and makes the storyline more interesting. Even though Beth sometimes finds herself outmaneuvered by Claudia Wolff at PTA meetings, she does not back down on either case no matter what others say. By the end of the story, Beth ties everything together in the investigation and takes an important step in her personal life, which makes a nice ending for this book and hints at good things to come in future books. Fans of Leslie Meier will enjoy this latest book by Laura Alden.

This review was originally written for The Season EZine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Mystery 21 July 2012
By D. Love - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Knowing her good friend and learning about her death, Beth suspects that there is more to her death, so Beth sets out to see if she can learn more surrounding the days before her friend's untimely death. Meanwhile one of the seniors, hearing about Beth's exploits in solving murders, wants her to investigate a 20-year old death. As Beth pursues both cases, her search for answers becomes more urgent.

This was a good read in this light-hearted and charming whodunit. The writing is crisp, the flow is evenly paced and I like the way the story progressed and kept me guessing as to how this drama would end. It's all about the relationship in this character-driven tale and I especially love the comedic tone that is found throughout this story. Beth is a great character and her relationships and concerns with her friends and family makes her a good sleuth. This was very enjoyable and I look forward to the next book in this wonderful series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We Knew the PTA Was a Dangerous Organization! 22 Oct 2012
By P. Herring - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Beth Kennedy is getting pushed around again, this time by an ornery senior citizen. Added to the usual troubles she faces: growing kids, a contentious PTA board, and her goofy friend Marina's machinations, it's pushing her to the limit. Then a customer she liked is found dead in her own back yard, and Beth has more stress than anyone should have to handle.
Alden's books are peopled with characters we could almost swear we know. Beth is the quintessential modern woman, running a business, working to improve her town, raising children, and all the while worried that she isn't doing any of them well enough. Small town interaction rings true in every story, and Alden has a gift for turning a humorous phrase that exactly captures a mother's angst or the frustration of a woman whose patience is waning.
I've enjoyed the PTA series very much.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This delightfully charming mystery epitomizes the word "cozy" ... 16 July 2012
By D. Fowler - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Beth Kennedy, owner of the Children's Bookshelf, mom to Jenna and Oliver, and some kinda aggravated secretary for Rynwood, Wisconsin's Tarver Elementary PTA just couldn't seem to find enough hours in the day to get things done. Beth's entire life felt like some kind of run-on sentence these days. Her children were a definite plus as was her current beau, Evan Garrett. He was everything she thought she wanted. On the other hand, Claudia Wolff, Tarver Elementary's pita PTA vice president, was everything she didn't. That woman spent a lot of time tooting her own horn and trying to "un-approve" Beth's senior story project at the Sunny Rest Assisted Living facility.

Tarver's seniors were going to interview the Sunny seniors and their stories were going to be published. The book would be a nice fundraiser and a definite distraction from thinking about Sam Helstetter's murder. It wouldn't be long before Beth was in the murder-she-wrote mindset once again when Amy Jacobson was found deader than a squashed ant in her yard. Agoraphobic Amy never left her property and when she ventured outside, she carried her EpiPen and was armed and ready to kill anything remotely buzzing with her bee killer. "The way Amy died seems a little ... off that's all," Beth spouted off to her best friend, Marina Neff. Excuse me? Everyone knew it was an accident.

Police Chief Gus Eiseley didn't want to hear her little theory either, but it wasn't long before yet another one was distracting Beth. "Kelly didn't do it, I tell you. She didn't!" Didn't what? Mean bean Auntie May, a Sunny Rest resident, had roped her into investigating the death of Maudie Hoffman's great-niece who had supposedly committed suicide in Blue Lake more than twenty years ago. Beth sensed a surefire connection between Amy's mysterious demise and Kelly's. Could she solve the mysteries before Maudie died? Everyone, including Chief Eiseley, was putting her on ignore except for one person ... the one whose hands reached up to clutch her throat in a death grip!

This delightfully charming mystery epitomizes the word "cozy." The interconnected mysteries in this book quietly unfolded as Beth went about her job as a bookstore owner, mother, and secretary of the Tarver Elementary PTA. The story, minus the mysterious murders, was of a life that many women can relate to. I chuckled when she "suddenly felt sorry for Jenna and Oliver" because she claimed she was such a moron of a mother and an eyebrow raised when she was entered into a "weight loss contest." Beth was definitely a loveable, likeable, and big time nosy `n' reluctant sleuth that readers can add to their list of favorite cozy characters!

This book courtesy of the publisher.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great series 23 Nov 2012
By Summer Kelly - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I hope she continues. I have enjoyed all pta books. Relatable and funny. As co-chair of a pto she writes things the rest of us want to say.
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