Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King
Review by Lauren
Source: review copy; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Hazel Rose never dreamed that the murder mystery book group she and her friend Carlene started would stage a real murder.
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.
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…
Review: When I was offered a chance to read Maggie King’s debut novel, I happily accepted since I’ve been wanting to read more cozy mysteries. As I’ve only read a few, I can’t really compare it to any others, but I can say that it was a very enjoyable read!
Hazel Rose is a middle-aged woman who has made her way through a mix of ex-husbands, her last actually making her a widow before they could officially divorce. This might make Hazel a good candidate for murdering her first ex-husband’s current wife, but as Hazel is telling the story, she couldn’t do it, right? Well, if not her, then probably one of the other book group members, right? This includes Carlene (the victim) Sarah, Lucy (not there that night), Trudy (not there that night) Annabel, Helen and her son Art, Kat, and new member on the night of the murder, Linda.
As Hazel decides to investigate the murder, not entirely convinced by the suicide note “Carlene” left behind, she realizes that all the members of her book group have something they could be hiding, and possible motive for wanting to get rid of Carlene. It becomes abundantly clear that Carlene was far different than most people realized, even her own sister, Kat. She lived a different life in the past and could have made a lot of enemies.
One of the things that I love about cozy mysteries is that they tend to have a theme, like food or books. This one, of course, is books, though with the way the book ends, I don’t know how a “book-themed” sequel will happen. I would be happy to learn more about these characters though, especially with so many secrets and interesting tidbits unearthed throughout Hazel’s investigation.
I wasn’t really sure who the murderer was, as there are many that it could have been. I loved learning new information throughout the book as it kept me turning back and forth between possible suspects. In the end, I was fairly surprised by the culprit. It wasn’t someone I really ever had in mind until Hazel did, so that was exciting! I like being surprised, though cozy mysteries are usually fun even if you do guess.