Series: Book Group Mysteries #1
Published by Gallery Books on December 30, 2014
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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…
I wanted to like this mystery. The set-up is right up my alley, a mystery reading book group whose member dies during a meeting. Books and murder, a bunch of middle-age women who are readers and writers – perfect. But it was all too much, too many (confusing) characters, too many potential motives, too much marrying/having affairs with each others exes. Maybe that was my main problem. Everybody was hooking up with everybody all the time, or so it seemed, but not in a romantic way, in a trashy way. The author also had a bit of an annoying habit of pointing out themes – like wow, Nazis keep coming up or lots of mothers and sons. Gee, I wonder if the solution has something to do with those two things.
I liked the people. I liked Hazel, even though I’m not sure why people thought it was okay that she was digging so much into everyone’s backgrounds, not just Carlene, but everybody in the book group since it was obviously one of them who dunnit.
This is the first in a series, maybe they will get better. I think the basis was good, it just needed paired down some.