Never judge a book by its cover...
Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate.
Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet—a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund)—for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn’t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she’ll need to read between the lines before it’s someone else’s final chapter....
“You’ll chuckle all the way through this delightful romp through Sun City West, as Phee and her mother unravel the mystery behind the sudden deaths of several book club members. It’s so cleverly written, you won’t guess the perpetrators until the very end.” —Mary Marks, award-winning author of the Quilting Mystery series
About the Author
J.C. Eaton is the wife and husband team of Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp. Ann has published eight YA time travel mysteries. Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com.
Read an Excerpt
Booked 4 Murder
By J.C. Eaton
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 J.C. Eaton
All rights reserved.
Office of Sophie Kimball, Mankato Police Department
"I'm telling you, Phee, they were all murdered. Murdered by reading that book."
I tried to keep my voice low, even though I felt like screaming. I had gotten the full story last night, but apparently that wasn't enough.
"That's insane, Mother. No one drops dead from reading a book. Look, can we talk about this later? I'm at work."
"Then you shouldn't have answered your cell phone."
She was right. It was a bad habit. One I had gotten used to when my daughter was in college and had all sorts of would-be emergencies. Now it was my mother in Arizona who seemed to have a never-ending supply of issues — the plumbing in her bathroom, a squeaky garage door, the arthritis in her right hand, a bridge player from her group who was cheating, and trouble keeping her succulents alive. Today it was some bizarre story about her book club. I glanced at the bottom of my computer screen for the time and decided to let her speak for another minute or so.
"Like I was saying, all of us in Booked 4 Murder are going to die from reading that book. There's a curse on it or something."
"Honestly, Mother, you can't be serious. We went through this last night. Minnie Bendelson was eighty-seven, overweight, diabetic, and had a heart condition! Not to mention the fact she was a chain-smoker. A chain-smoker! Edna Mae Langford fell, broke her hip, and died from complications of pneumonia. And she was in her eighties."
"What about Marilyn Scutt? She was only seventy."
"Her golf cart was hit by a car going in the wrong direction!"
"That wouldn't have happened if she wasn't engrossed in that book. That's what I'm telling you. She died from that darn book. And now I'm petrified. Of course, I've only read up until page twenty-four. I was in the middle of a paragraph when I got the call about Edna Mae. That's when I stopped reading the book."
"Good. Read something else."
"I'm serious, Phee. You need to fly out here and find out how that curse works."
"How on earth would I know? And once and for all, there is no curse."
"You can't say that for sure. You need to investigate. With your background, that shouldn't be too hard."
"My background? What background?"
"Well, you work for the police department, don't you?"
"In accounting and payroll! I have a civil service job. I'm not a detective."
As if to verify, I picked up the placard in front of my computer. It read, SOPHIE KIMBALL, ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE.
"You come in contact with those investigators every day. Something must have rubbed off by now. You've had that job for years."
"Look, Mother, I promise I'll call the minute I get home from work, but I can't stay on the phone. Do me a favor. Stop reading those books for a few days. Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or find something other than murder mysteries to read. Maybe a good cookbook."
"Who cooks in Sun City West? This is a retirement community. I'm going out with friends for dinner. Call me after seven your time."
"Fine. And stop thinking about a cursed book."
My finger slid to the red End button just as Nate Williams approached my desk. He had been a detective in this small Minnesota city for close to two decades and was counting the days till his retirement. At sixty-five, he still looked youthful, even with his graying hair. Maybe it was his height or the way he sauntered about as if he didn't have a care in the world.
"What's this about a cursed book? Some new case and they called your department by mistake?"
I tried to ignore his grin.
"No curse. Unless you consider wacky mothers a special variety. Come on, hand over your receipts for processing. I'll make a quick copy for you. The machine's right here."
"So, what's with the cursed book? Sounds more interesting than the stuff I've got on my docket."
"Well, if you must know, my mother is convinced that she and her book club are going to drop dead from reading some ridiculous novel. She started in with me last night and wouldn't quit. Now she's calling me at work."
Nate took the receipt copies and let out a slow breath. "And you don't believe her?"
"Of course not. It's just her overactive imagination. When my father was alive, he kept her in check, but he passed away when they moved out west years ago. Now it seems she and her friends have nothing better to do than speculate on all sorts of stuff — the government, health care, economics, immigration. ... You know, the usual things that retired people talk about."
"Hey, I haven't even turned in my retirement letter, so no, I'm not part of the geezer gossip group yet."
"Oh my gosh. I wasn't referring to you."
My face started to flush, and I quickly turned toward my desk to hide my reaction.
"Take it easy. I'm only kidding. So, what gives? What's this book club death threat all about?"
"Gee, Nate, you sound more and more like a detective each day. Quick, pull up a chair and I'll fill you in. I've got a break coming in a few minutes. Might as well put it to good use."
Working in this department for so many years, one of the perks was having my own office. Granted, it was tiny, just a desk, computer, and copier, but it was fairly private if you weren't bothered by the hallway traffic and constant interruptions. Nate had stopped by at a good time. Most of the workers were already making their way to the coffee machine for a fifteen-minute respite.
"Want me to run and get you a cup of coffee before we start?" he asked.
"Nah, I'm fine. You're the one who's going to need a cup of coffee or something stronger when you hear this lunacy."
"There are about fifteen or so members in my mother's book club, and every year they give the librarian at Sun City West a list of their choices for murder-mystery reading. To avoid arguments, the librarian selects a different book from the list for each month and makes it a point to acquire some copies for the library."
"Hmm ... he or she isn't in the club, I presume?"
"Correct. It's a she, but that's all I know."
"Okay, fine. So this book came as one of the suggestions from a book club member?"
"Uh-huh. It was part of the original list for the year."
Nate rubbed the bottom of his chin and leaned in. "What makes your mother so sure the book has anything to do with these deaths? From what I overheard, and believe me, I wasn't trying to snoop, it sounded like they were all unrelated."
"Three of the women died within days of each other and, according to my mother, each received a cryptic e-mail a few days before."
"What kind of e-mail? What did it say?"
"'Death lurks between the lines.'" I couldn't tell if Nate was trying to stifle a laugh or clear his throat.
"Astounding. Sounds like a take on those old nineteen eighties urban legends where someone gets a mysterious videotape, they watch it, and within days they die."
"You think someone is trying to scare a bunch of old ladies?"
"I don't know what to think. But you were right. Your mother should stick to reading a cookbook or something."
"She never went near one when I was growing up, and she's not going to start now. Frankly, the only thing that's going to stop my mother from dwelling on this is if I fly out there and make a fool of myself investigating."
"Listen, kiddo, you'd never make a fool of yourself, no matter what."
"I don't know the first thing about investigating. I'm no detective."
"The heck you're not! The way you track down and verify receipts, hold everyone accountable for monies spent, and triple-check every bit of documentation that comes across your desk? If that's not detective work, then what is?"
"You know what I mean. What does my mother expect me to do even if I fly out there? Take out a pencil and paper and start acting like Sherlock Holmes?"
"Nah, he'd use an iPad by now."
"You do think this is absurd, don't you?"
"Yes and no. Coincidental deaths maybe, but not that e-mail. Keep me posted, Phee. By the way, what's the name of that book?"
"It had a strange title. The Twelfth Arrondissement. Whatever that means."
"It's a neighborhood in Paris."
"How on earth do you know that?"
"You'd be surprised at all the irrelevant facts I know. But this one is firsthand. I lived in Paris for a year when I graduated from college. Couldn't figure out what to do with the rest of my life and thought I'd take a crack at studying art. Needless to say, that dream evaporated and here I am."
"Yes, here you are!" came an unmistakable voice that bellowed down the hallway. "I was looking all over for you, Williams."
"Be right there, Boss. Gotta run. Remember, Phee, if anything turns up, give a holler."
I clicked the Refresh button on my computer and waited for the screen to adjust. Of all the crazy things. Why would the book club be reading about some neighborhood in Paris? It didn't sound like their usual cozy mystery. Then again, there was nothing cozy about this.
As hard as I tried, I couldn't stop thinking about that bizarre book and my mother's irrational fears. They plagued me the entire afternoon. I mean, who in the twenty-first century, other than my mother, her book club friends, and my mother's sister, Aunt Ina, would believe in curses? The only saving grace was that my aunt wasn't in the book club. She lived in the East Valley, miles from Sun City West. Compared to her, my mother was the epitome of rational thinking.
Once when my cousin Kirk and I were ten or eleven, we were having lunch with our mothers at some restaurant after a horrid morning of clothes shopping for school. Kirk accidently spilled the salt shaker and my aunt went berserk.
"Quick! Kirk! Take a pinch of salt and throw it over your left shoulder."
"I'm not gonna do that. I don't want salt all over my neck. It'll itch."
"If you don't throw it over your shoulder, you'll be cursed with bad luck. Pinch that salt and throw it."
Kirk refused, forcing my aunt to lean over the table and throw the salt for him. Unfortunately, she knocked over two water glasses in the process, both of them landing in Kirk's lap. What followed next was one of those memorable family moments they tell you you'll be laughing at ten or twenty years later.
In a rush to stand up, Kirk toppled backward, knocked the chair over, and landed on the floor.
"See, I told you," my aunt said. "Next time you'll listen to me."
Was The Twelfth Arrondissement my mother's spilled salt shaker? I tried dismissing it from my mind till the moment the workday ended and I set foot in my house.CHAPTER 2
I barely had time to put my bag on the counter and kick off my shoes when my phone rang. The voice in my head screamed, LET THE ANSWERING MACHINE GET IT, but I didn't listen. I grew up in a household without an answering machine and you had to race to the phone or forever wonder what you missed. Old habits die hard.
"Phee, thank goodness you're home."
"We agreed I'd call you later this evening, Mom. I just got in."
"Thelmalee Kirkson is dead. Dead. This afternoon at the rec center pool. It was awful."
"Oh my gosh. Did she drown?"
"Drown, no. She doesn't even swim. I mean, didn't even swim. Just sunbathed and read."
"No, bee sting. Out of nowhere. She got stung and died from anaphylactic shock before the paramedics could get there."
"That's awful, Mom. I'm so sorry. She was in your bridge group, wasn't she?"
"No, that's Thelma Morrison. Thelmalee was in my book club. When the fire department finally removed her body from the lounge chair, do you know what they found?"
Before I could catch a breath, my mother continued. "They found that book. The Twelfth Arrondissement. Facedown on the small table near her chair. She only had a few pages left. So you see, it was that book. It's put a curse on us!"
"For the last time, Mother. There is no curse. No book curse. This was a horrible accident. A fluke."
"Four perfectly fine book-club members dead in such a short time is not a fluke or a coincidence. Sophie Vera Kimball, you need to fly out here and investigate. I don't want you to get a phone call from my friends, or worse yet, the Sun City West Sheriff's Posse telling you that your mother is number five."
"I think you're overreacting. Besides, I can't just up and fly to Arizona."
"Knowing you, Phee, you've got plenty of vacation and personal days. I'm right, aren't I? Besides, you can get away from that awful Minnesota weather and enjoy the sunshine out here."
"The weather's fine in Minnesota. It's September, for crying out loud. You'll see me in December. Liked we planned."
"December is too late. Call me tomorrow to let me know what flight you're on."
"Mother, I am not —"
Drat! She'd already hung up, and I wasn't about to call her back. I took off my blazer and slacks, and slipped into my favorite worn jeans and an old sweatshirt. Then I grabbed some leftover lasagna from the fridge and popped it into the microwave. No sooner did I press the Start button when the phone rang again.
Unbelievable. Is there no stopping her from driving me insane?
I debated whether or not to answer and decided to let the machine get it. Nate's voice was loud enough to drown out the sound of the microwave. I quickly picked up the receiver.
"Sorry, Nate. Couldn't get to the phone fast enough. What's up?"
"Thought I'd give you a head start, kiddo. I looked up that book, and I have to say, it's really obscure. I mean, on the Amazon ranking list, it's got a really high number, and that's not good. Plus, it's not even listed with Barnes & Noble. No one's heard of it. No one's reading it. Except for your mother's book club."
"Who's the publisher?"
"It's self-published and copyrighted with the author. Also an unknown. So unknown the name didn't come up on Google."
"You didn't have to go through all of that trouble on my account. Honestly, my mother is just being overly dramatic about this. Although ... she did call a few minutes ago to tell me another book club member died. She was stung by a bee and died of shock at the large recreation center pool."
"So that makes what? Four? Four deaths in less than a month with all of the people having a common relationship? If you ask me, maybe you should fly out there to investigate."
"Oh, come on. I don't have the slightest inkling of how to go about something like that."
"Want me to rent an old noir movie for you? It's really quite simple. You interview, or in your case, talk with the people in the book club, library patrons, and witnesses who were there when one of the women died. Start to put together bits of information that seem to lead up to something. You know, follow the clues. Like I told you earlier today, you already know how to conduct an investigation."
"Nate, you don't really believe there's a curse related to that book, do you?"
"Logically, no. Then again, was it a curse that killed those archeologists who uncovered King Tutankhamun's tomb, or was it a coincidence?"
"I think it was a virus. Dust spores. Maybe you should be the one to fly out there and commiserate with my mother."
"Thank you, no. But I'll do one better for you. Do you remember Rolo Barnes who used to work in the IT department for us?"
"Rolo Barnes? The guy who looked like a black Jerry Garcia?"
"That's the one."
"Of course I remember him. Made payroll a nightmare for me. He refused to have direct deposit and insisted that his paychecks be even-numbered only. Boy did that guy have his quirks. Why?"
"Because no one knows more about cyphers and codes than Rolo. And, he owes me big-time for a matter that I'd rather not discuss. Anyway, I downloaded the e-book version of The Twelfth Arrondissement and sent it to him. He'll check to see if there are any codes or messages embedded in the text."
"Boy, things in your office must really be boring if this is getting your attention."
"I wouldn't say boring, more like routine. And honestly, Phee, what detective wouldn't want to sink his or her teeth into a good old murderous curse."
"One who lives in this century and not the Middle Ages. Anyway, thanks for doing some of the legwork. If I do decide to hop a plane, you'll be the second one to know."
No sooner did I hang up the phone when the buzz of the microwave made me jump out of my skin. I half expected to turn around and see my mother standing there offering to pack my suitcase. Now I was the one getting unnerved. I was positive my mother was being totally irrational about this. Or was she? Nate certainly didn't dismiss it, and he'd dealt with all sorts of bizarre situations. Still, my mother lived in a senior community and well ... the likelihood of someone passing away wasn't unusual, even if the cluster of deaths was.
I hated thinking about getting old and at approaching forty-five, I still considered myself years away from middle age. I had no gray hair and still looked decent in a high-waisted two-piece swimsuit, although I shied away from thongs and skinny bikinis.
Excerpted from Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton. Copyright © 2017 J.C. Eaton. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Then started rambling. Parts sounded like commercial breaks mentioning product names every other line. Story could have been told in one fourth the pages.
Fun new series!! I really enjoyed the characters - Sophie and her mom are fun together!! And a thoughtful plot that was a bit different than your normal cozy!!
I read this book for a facebook bookclub I am in, and am so glad I did. Sophie, aka Phee, gets a frantic call from her mother. The book they are reading for their bookclub is cursed and she wants Sophie to come out to Arizona and help her find out what is going on. Sophie is not a cop, but works for the Mankao Minnesota police department. With reluctance, off she goes. Phee didn't really know where to begin, but using the information her mother has already gathered, she was able to make a plan. Occasionally getting help from her friend Nate, who is a police detective, she stumbles onto clues, and begins to figure out what is going on. I loved the relationship between Phee and her mom, Harriet. They still had the mom/daughter thing going on, some times with her mom treating her like a child. Harriet was a senior who had moved to Arizona and all the stereotypes of retirees moving south were there. She lived in a community with other seniors, ate early, had a schedule that she did not want to change, and knew everything about everyone else. She was a hoot. I loved how Nate and Phee would share information long distance and that he would be the one to pull in his contacts. He was also 20 years older and a mentor, not a love interest, in fact, there is no romantic overtones in the book at all, which was refreshing. The end of the book where the reveal came about was pretty funny in itself and not the person I though was involved, in fact, not the person Phee thought either. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. If you like cozy mysteries with quirky characters and humor, then you will enjoy this book.
Both my husband and I loved it and looking forward to reading more
I liked this first book in a new series. Phee's mother is sure the book her book club is reading is cursed and killing members of the club. Phee works in the police station in Minnesota as a accountant, but her mother is sure she can come to Arizona and solve the crimes. Since she has some vacation she visits her mother and sets out investigating. I enjoyed the characters and the Sun City West, Arizona setting. I liked the relationship between Phee and her mother. It is not a perfect relationship but they do care about each other. The authors do a good job with the setting. You can practically feel the desert heat. Even though it takes place in a retirement the characters are not cliches. The mystery was good and it did make sense. The ending and revelation did get a little unbelievable. I look for word to reading the next one. Enjoy
Loved it! Very enjoyable cozy, beginning of a series, and quite fun to read. PLUS, I didn't see the ending coming!!! A+++
The characters are enjoyable and engaging until the end of story.
This is a fabulous first in series by a husband and wife team! The setting is Sun City West, Arizona, and I live very close to it. Loved reading street names and restaurants that sound familiar. The plot has an abundance of twists and turns right through the very end, reminding me of a ball of yarn that several kittens have a battle with. The authors, however, have it well under control at all times and execute it with finesse. Phee (Sophie) Kimball is an accountant with the police department in Mankato, Minnesota (where the Ingalls family had lived for a few years). This, to her mom's way of thinking, qualifies her to come to Sun City West for an early visit before she gets bumped off by the book curse surrounding her book club's monthly choice. Four women had died, each by different causes, and the night that Phee flew in to Phoenix, another had almost died. What ensues from there is a superbly planned grand mystery jaunt through Sun City West. Phee, sometimes directed by or with her mother, gets into some of the most uncomfortable spots - dumpster diving, water aerobics, even Bingo games where the players had their troll dolls and other lucky charms cluttering the tables. Trying to discover the source of each tentacle of the mystery even as more grow seems like a never ending task. But Phee and Harriet, her mother, are determined to find the solution and stop the deaths before Phee returns to Minnesota. This superbly written novel is planned and executed with precision. There are so many tentacles to the mystery that I am impressed that every detail is addressed, leaving no open ends. The dialog is realistic, as is the action. I could not, no matter how hard I tried, find an explanation or culprit or motive for every single situation! I was happy to have just solved a bit of the puzzle! I highly recommend this cozy mystery! Especially for those who enjoy being challenged, enjoy a Southwest setting, and appreciate the humor throughout. This is a "not to be missed" novel. (Thank you to Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ for keeping autographed copies on hand!)
Picture this if you will in your head……a small town in Minnesota, a middle-aged, divorce women who works at the local police department; however not as an officer. Sophie Kimball; “Phee” to those close to her, is an accounts clerk for the department, however her mother thinks she is smarter than that. Harriet Plunkett; mother of Phee, has moved to Sun City West near Phoenix Arizona in a senior citizens community. Harriet and her friends have a book club that they started and recently; with the selection of this new book, four of the members have died suspiciously and rumors begin that the book is cursed. Harriet pleads with her daughter Phee to come to Arizona and help her solve the mystery before anyone else dies. Delightfully funny, fast paced, quick read!!! My parents retired in this same community and I fit into the book so easily. Good read!!!
BOOKED 4 MURDER is a mystery too good to 4get! Starting a new book can be hard. When that book is the first in a new series? Well, it can be even harder. So, I started reading BOOKED 4 MURDER with high hopes, mixed with a bit of trepidation. My worries were for nothing. Author J. C. Eaton has created a great new mystery series. I was completely hooked from the first chapter. If this first installment in the series is an example of what is to follow, this series is going to run for a long time. I made a quick connection with series protagonist and namesake, Sophie Kimball. Sophie is middle aged, so I could relate better with her in some situations than I can a very young heroine. Her mother, Harriet is such a fun character. A lot of the scenes with her had me laughing. And Harriet’s dog, Freeman . . . well, I have a Chiweenie of my own, so author Eaton scored there with me. A wonderful mystery, BOOKED 4 MURDER had twists and turns, red herrings, and an all-round cleverness that had me guessing my way through this fast paced book. When the reveal came, I was surprised, even though I had guessed it earlier in the story, only to reject it. Give this new series a try. Pick up a copy of BOOKED 4 MURDER. When you’re finished, you’ll be waiting for book two, DITCHED 4 MURDER as anxiously as I am!
Booked 4 Murder by J. C. Eaton is the first book in A Sophie Kimball Mystery series. Sophie “Phee” Kimball is at work (Accounts Receivable Department at the Mankato Police Department) when she receives a call from her mother, Harriet Plunkett. Phee’s mother claims that the book, The Twelfth Arrondissement is cursed. It is the current selection being read by her book club, Booked 4 Murder. Three members of the book group have already died. She wants Phee to fly to Arizona and figure out what is happening (and she will not take no for an answer) before the curse kills off more of the group. Before Phee can decide, Harriet calls about a fourth woman succumbing to the “curse”. After consulting with her friend, Detective Nate Williams, Phee heads to Sun City West, Arizona. Phee arrives and hears about a fifth member of the book club who almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning. What is going on? Phee hits the ground running with her investigation. She digs into the various members deaths, queries the local librarian on how the books are chosen for the book club, and searches for information on the author of The Twelfth Arrondissement. Phee only has one week before she needs to return to work (if she can survive the heat). Can Phee discover what is happening to the members of Booked 4 Death before someone else is hurt and curse fever takes over the town? Booked 4 Murder sounded entertaining, but I had a hard time wading through it. I found the pace slow (glacial) and the writing flat. The characters were not fleshed out and given life. Phee’s characters do not go with her profession (that are mentioned early in the book about her). Normally, an accountant is organized and detail oriented (good at taking notes). Phee’s character seemed contradictory. The only character I cared about was Detective Nate Williams (shame he was not featured more prominently). The mother was over-the-top and annoying (her dog, Streetman was obnoxious). I found items to be repeated several times throughout the story. Mentioned most frequently is that Phee is not a detective and how she cannot stand the heat (it was exasperating). There are also a couple of outdated references in the book. I did enjoy the Agatha Christie references throughout the story. My rating for Booked 4 Murder is 2.5 out of 5 stars (I am being a little generous since this is a first book by these writers). The mystery had several moving parts. I would say more but that would spoil it for readers. I believe the author was trying to make a complicated mystery that would bewilder readers. The whodunit can be solved effortlessly (I kept hoping for a surprise twist). The ending is expected and disappointing (and a little shocked that Phee would consider it—she has issues). Personally, I would have preferred that Phee work mysteries with Nate in Mankato. An accountant and a detective teaming up to solve crimes (a unique combo). There is a preview of Ditched 4 Murder at the end of the book (the next book in A Sophie Kimball Mystery series). I will not be continuing with the series as it is not the right type of cozy mystery series for me.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Oh my word! This is a wonderful debut! Sophie “Phee” Kimball works for the police department in Minnesota in the office. The only detecting she does is hunting down receipts for expense reports but her dear mother assumes that she can kill the curse that is killing members of her book club. She begs her daughter to come to Sun City West, Arizona before another member ends up dead. Phee tries to calm her mother and put her off until the holidays but Harriet demands her presence immediately. After to talking to one of the local detectives she decides to head to Arizona, knowing he will be able to sort out any details she does find. Hopefully she can close the book on this mystery and get back to her own life in the “star of the north”. I liked Phee right away but it took a bit for Harriet to grow on me. The way she expected her daughter to drop everything to do something she had no experience in was a little off putting but truthfully there are many moms in the world that expect their children to do the same, maybe not solve murders but handle many other issues. After the first couple of chapters some of Harriet’s requests were pretty funny. But that woman is PUSHY and extremely demanding. Sun City West, Arizona is a retirement community and made for a very interesting setting. The early dinners, bingo games, clubs, and movies all ring true to the lives of the some senior citizens I know. It also gave Phee places to meet the suspects on her growing list as she tried to disprove all her mother’s theories. I found it delightful that she came up with her own version of a “murder board” to keep tracks of everyone and how they were connected as she tried to figure out what was really going on. The story was very well written with a plethora of red herrings. I figured out a tiny part of the mystery early on but I uncovered the rest right along with Phee. I appreciated the fact that she knew she needed help to tie all the loose ends together and reached out to the detective and his techy friend back home. Even long distance the three of them made a great team. This story took several different tangents in the route to the big reveal and it truly was a very big public reveal. The authors have laid a great foundation for this series. Plenty of room for the main characters to become more fully defined. The setting also gives the possibility of many supporting characters and mysteries. A fine mystery filled with captivating characters and just enough humor to tickle your funny bone. I am very excited for the next installment, Ditched 4 Murder will be out November 28, 2017.
5 Stars 4 "Booked 4 Murder" Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton, the first book in the Sophie Kimball Mystery series, is amazing. Let me tell you why. Booked 4 Murder is such a fun book, thanks to the zany situations that Phee finds herself in. How does she get in these situations? That's all because of Phee's mother. Harriet is a hoot! The relationship between Phee and Harriet is well-written, and wonderful to read about. Their repartee is filled with memorable wit and humor. The clever, fast-moving plot of Booked 4 Murder quickly drew me in and kept me guessing. The mystery is imaginative, intricately plausible, and filled with twists and turns. I was so excited by Phee's sleuthing, and especially her big reveal, that I couldn't stop reading until I learned whodunit. I finished Booked 4 Murder in one sitting. I will definitely continue with the Sophie Kimball Mysteries. The second book in the series, Ditched 4 Murder, has a release date of November 28, 2017. Book #3 is titled Staged 4 Murder. I'm looking forward to reading both of them. I recommend Booked 4 Murder to all cozy mystery fans, especially ones who like to read about mother/daughter relationships and active seniors. If you're a fan of the Jolene Jackson Mystery Series by Paula Boyd, I think you will particularly enjoy reading about Sophie Kimball in Booked 4 Murder. I absolutely love Booked 4 Murder, which has earned my highest rating of Five Stars! Note: I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of Booked 4 Murder. All opinions shared are 100% my own. Originally published on my blog Jane Reads.
Booked 4 Murder, is the first in a new series by J.C. Eaton and Sophie "Phee" Kimball is the main character. From the minute you start reading Booked 4 Murder you are along for the ride with Phee and let me tell you it is a crazy ride !! Phee, like any loving daughter, will do what she can to help her mother...even if the idea presented is absolutely crazy ! Phee's mother, Harriet, is in a book club and the book they are currently reading has a curse on it !! And Harriet wants Phee to drop everything and go to Arizona (Phee lives in Minnesota) and investigate the curse. Even though Phee works at the local police department, she is far from being a cop. She works in the accounts receivable department. But it doesn't matter what Phee says, she finds herself sweating it out in Arizona taking demands from her over barring mother to solve the unexplained deaths of the members of the book club reading the "cursed" book. Luckily Phee has a friend and co-worker back home, Nate, that she bounces ideas and theories off of and even gets helps with some of the clues she uncovers. Everything falls apart and becomes a three-ring circus when the book club has their next meeting. All the local news are in attendance as well as CNN and even a psychic from a reality show is there !! While Phee begins to explain how the book is not cursed and how she can prove it, things start to get out of hand..... This was such a fun book and a great start for a new series !!! Highly recommend it....it is a nice easy read, as long as you can handle Phee's mother you will be fine.
Booked 4 Murder is the first book in the A Sophie Kimball Mystery series. Booked 4 Murder is a very enjoyable beginning to, what I think, will be an entertaining series. If you like a good helping of humor with your mysteries, this is definitely a book that should go to the top of your to-read list. A fast paced book with a wonderful cast of characters. The book is set in Sun City, AZ, a retirement community with a group of retired seniors, who are set in their ways but still are alert enough to watch out for their friends. The story, along with the characters, makes me want to call this a combination of Columbo and the Keystone Cops. Sophie finally gives in to her mother’s request, putting it mildly, to come to Sun City to investigate the deaths of three members of her mom’s book club. He mom is sure that deaths are the result them reading a “cursed” book. As Sophie arrives at her mother’s there is a police presence across the street. It is soon learned that there was carbon monoxide poisoning, but it was found early enough that the homeowner survived. Sophie works in the accounting department of the Mankato Police Department, so she has no real investigative skills, but she does have common sense which she uses to look into te suspicious deaths. She feels that at least two of the deaths are simply accidents, But the death of one the members from a bee sting and the attempted death by carbon monoxide poisoning have her stymied. In addition, Sophie is also perplexed that she can find anything about the book or it’s author. Sophie contacts Nate Williams, a detective with the Mankato PD to asks procedure questions and whatever information he might be able to get to help find the killer. I will be anxiously waiting for November 28, 2017, when the second book, Ditched 4 Murder comes out, to see what further adventures Sophie Kimball has.