When her sleepwalking aunt is accused of committing murder, Poppy McAllister finds out there's no rest for the weary . . .
Between trying to get her gluten-free baking business off the ground and helping her aunt remodel her old Victorian into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, Poppy is ready to call, “Mayday!” And now Aunt Ginny—who's a handful wide-awake—is sleepwalking on her new sleeping pill prescription and helping herself to neighbors’ snacks and knickknacks.
Even more alarming, a local humanitarian who worked with troubled teens is found murdered, and the police suspect the “Snack Bandit.” Other than a bad case of midnight munchies and some mild knickknack kleptomania, Aunt Ginny is harmless. Someone’s trying to frame her. Poppy will need to work tirelessly to uncover the killer and put the case to rest—before Aunt Ginny has to trade in her B & B for a bunk bed behind bars . . .
Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!
About the Author
Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School in the '80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She has worked as a stay at home mom, climbing the ranks to the coveted position of Grandma. She also dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company, which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.
Read an Excerpt
Mischief and Mayhem were running amuck in South Jersey. Mischief, or as I called her, Aunt Ginny, was on the warpath flanked by her first in command, Mayhem, also known as my black smoke Persian, Figaro the instigator. Today their battleground was the kitchen and the enemy was knee deep in the hoopla installing pearl-gray cabinets and black-and-silver granite countertops.
Aunt Ginny barked out orders like Patton leading the Allied forces through France. "If any one of you puts so much as a single scratch on my Romba cuckoo clock, there will be hell to pay! My first husband, Lovell, brought that home from Germany in 1945. It's survived three wars, a fire, and Hurricane Sandy. I'll be darned if it's going down because of a slipshod kitchen remodel."
I'd been stranded in Cape May with my eighty-ish great aunt ever since I was lured up here to attend my twenty-fifth high school reunion a few weeks ago, and was voted most likely to kill a cheerleader. I'd never wanted to return to the birthplace of my most painful memories, but I'd come to accept that Cape May had a certain charm. One that I'd call "better than a sharp stick in the eye." I'd been away long enough to forget that Aunt Ginny teetered on the edge of crazy. Now it was my job to look after this rickety old rattletrap ... and the house. With two redheads under the same roof, and one of them having just bought a wakeboard on xtremesports4seniors.com, I think twenty years in the women's prison would have been easier.
We'd been undergoing a major refurbishment to transform the Queen Anne Victorian into a quaint, beachy bed-and-breakfast so I'd have a way to support Aunt Ginny and she could keep her independence. A new roof had been laid, the porch and swing had been repaired, and the entire outside of the house had been freshly painted in Easter-egg shades of butter yellow, baby pink, and lavender. A wooden shingle hung in the front yard proclaiming us the Butterfly House B & B, punctuated with a giant blue-and-black butterfly. I'd gotten the local radio station to run a call-in contest giving away passes to our special Fall Fling Event. The free weekend got me some generosity points, and sent me four sets of guests to be my guinea pigs. There was still a long list of projects to be completed before we officially launched our grand opening, not the least of which was to find ways to keep Aunt Ginny and Figaro from scaring off the clientele.
I ran upstairs with my checklist to the guest bedroom we'd named the Swallowtail Suite and inspected the work. "Smitty!" A little man with a perfectly round bald head like a crystal garden globe, and deep-set cow eyes danced into the room.
"What's up, boss?"
"Smitty, why is this room painted Island Pool? It's supposed to be Buttercream. Island Pool was for the Adonis Blue Suite. It matches the king-size duvet in that room."
Smitty returned a blank expression.
"It's a theme."
Smitty scratched his head.
"We've talked about it at length."
Smitty grunted and pulled a folded checklist out of his paint-smeared overalls. He frowned and looked up into my eyes. "I can fix that." Then he gave me a Benny Hill backhanded salute and a "whoop whoop whoop" from the Three Stooges and shimmied backwards out of the room.
I sighed. Itty Bitty Smitty, as everyone called him, was my general contractor. He was highly recommended by Handyman Haven and I now suspected he either had dirt on the owner or they sent him to me in a self-survival effort to get him off their referral list. He was the only handyman within my budget who was available on short notice. I was starting to see why.
I heard a crash on the first floor and Figaro slinked up the stairs and sat at my feet. "What did you do?" He licked his paw and gave me an innocent look before wiping it on his ear. I ran down the stairs to the kitchen to see workmen cleaning up a stack of broken stone tiles that were left over from laying the new kitchen floor.
"No problem, ma'am. Julio knocked the slate over while backing up to install the new cooler. Everything is a-okay."
The new cooler was a seventy-two-inch, triple-door, brushed-nickel refrigerator and freezer that had cost as much as a small car. I bet you could fit forty-seven turkeys in there. If we ever lost the house we could move into the freezer side and sublet the fridge space to another family. I'd spent a fortune on this bed-and-breakfast gamble, and Aunt Ginny and I had nothing to fall back on if it failed. My mother-in-law had invested just enough into the venture to keep her strings attached so she could yank on me whenever she wanted. I doubted Georgina would approve of our new apricot kitchen or my splurge purchase of a BlueStar Infused Copper range with double ovens. When Georgina makes a big purchase it's a wise investment. When I do it, apparently it's superfluous. Between the bed-and-breakfast baking, and my daily delivery of gluten-free muffins to La Dolce Vita coffee shop, the 1970s avocado-green General Electric model had to be replaced. I was afraid it would explode if I ran it for more than two hours at a time.
I reached into a box I'd brought with me yesterday when I'd officially moved out of the home my late husband and I had shared for more than twenty years in Waterford. It was a painful move, and with it, part of my life — the part with John — was really over. But I had promised him I would live and be happy. I'd had no idea how difficult that promise would be to keep when I made it.
"Come here, baby. Let mama set you up." I pulled out my prized powder-pink Italian espresso machine and lovingly placed it on the new countertop, polishing the chrome. If John could see us now. Thinking of him made my heart grip in my chest. Each passing day got a little better, but sometimes it still hurt enough to take my breath away. I missed him terribly.
Smitty appeared beside me. "Are we on target to have the kitchen painted by Thursday?" I asked him. "I have four sets of guests arriving Friday afternoon for a complimentary practice run. Those initial reviews could have a powerful impact on business going forward, so I need them to be stellar."
"Absolutely. You can count on me, boss."
There was a crash from the dining room, followed by Aunt Ginny's yell, "Smitty!"
Smitty grunted and said, "I can fix that," then ran out to inspect the damage.
Stress like this was why I had SeÃ±or Ramone's Tacos and Tater Tots on speed dial in Virginia. I looked around the kitchen. It was coming together. This time tomorrow I'd be up to my elbows in blueberries and almond meal, coconut flour, maple syrup, and Tahitian vanilla beans. I added parchment paper and muffin liners to my growing shopping list for the chef supply warehouse, along with commercial muffin tins, sheet pans, and a twelve-shelf baker's cooling rack.
I was just about to take my espresso machine for her inaugural run in her new digs when Smitty tore in on his cell phone.
"We have an emergency."
"This isn't another out-of-marshmallow-fluff kind of emergency like last week, is it?"
"The BlueStar is on backorder."
I could feel the panic rising. "No no no! It can't be, Smitty."
Aunt Ginny entered the kitchen, her I Love Lucy dyed hair piled up in a beehive on top of her head, and dressed in what looked like pale blue pajamas with a white dragon print on the sleeve. "What's on backorder?"
Smitty turned to her. "The range."
Aunt Ginny whistled and shook her head. "I can't take anymore. I'm strung up tighter than a new fiddle. I'm going to karate to relax."
"Please don't crane-kick Jimmy Kapps today. You already have two strikes."
"He knew what he was getting into when he signed up for the class."
"How else is he gonna learn?"
I had a better chance of teaching a badger to ride a bike than winning an argument with Aunt Ginny. "I'll see you for dinner tonight. Which now that I think about it will have to be salads or takeout, since we don't have an oven." I narrowed my eyes at Smitty. "How can I run a bed-and-breakfast if I can't make breakfast, Smitty?"
Smitty covered the mouthpiece to his phone and shrugged. "Cereal?"
"I really don't think we want to make a name for ourselves for being the Cap'n Crunch bed-and-breakfast."
My cell phone vibrated and I saw a text from Giampaolo, the owner of the espresso bar. I'd been ducking him since he laid that sizzling kiss on me. Of course, that didn't stop me from daydreaming about him.
I had three men in my life. Tim, my high school sweetheart. I'd never really gotten over him. Then there was John, who knocked me up in college. His family came from money and mine came from crazy, so naturally a shotgun wedding was in order. And finally, Giampaolo, or Gia for short. The sexy Italian barista befriended me during my captivity when I was maliciously and unfairly under investigation by a vindictive blond police officer. But that's another story. I turned into a pool of melted chocolate whenever Gia was around and I'm pretty sure he could tell.
My head was clogged with murky thoughts of men and moving on, and I had to wade through them to read Gia's text. It said he had something important to discuss with me and could I come over this afternoon to do it in person. Before I could tap out so much as a smiley face, there was another crash by the front door, followed by Aunt Ginny crying out in pain.
My heart lurched and I ran to the foyer with a prayer that she was okay. Figaro galloped past me to be the first on the scene. Aunt Ginny's tiny frame lay on the parquet wood floor in a heap. I ran to her side and yelled to anyone listening, "Call an ambulance!"CHAPTER 2
"Poppy Blossom, don't you dare call an ambulance or I will flame your heinie." Aunt Ginny groaned and shifted herself upright. "I lost my balance, that's all. I haven't been sleeping, with all this rigmarole in my house. I'm just petered out."
"Falling is not a small thing, Aunt Ginny, especially at your age."
Aunt Ginny scowled and gave me a sideways look.
"Well, it's not. And I think we need to get you checked out to make sure you didn't break anything."
"But Master Kim —"
"Will have to smash boards without you."
I had Smitty scoop her into my Toyota Corolla and belt her in. She made him run back into the house twice before we could leave. Once to get her pocketbook, and the other time to fetch her Pretty in Pink lipstick from the hall bathroom counter.
We started out toward Cape Urgent Care, but Aunt Ginny howled and hollered that only her doctor knew her and was qualified to diagnose her. He'd been her family physician since I was in ponytails, and at her age she should have a say in her medical treatment. For me not to acquiesce to her demands was nothing short of elder abuse. She pitched such a fit that I bypassed Urgent Care and drove straight to Dr. Weingarten's. I was tempted to drop her off at the door and return to collect her at the end of the day, but then she grabbed her chest and said she couldn't breathe, and I immediately repented of my momentary impatience.
The North Cape May office was a converted two-story Victorian Provincial with blue shingles and a sign out front that said CAPE MEDICAL ASSOCIATES. The waiting room was set up in the original front parlor. The odors of cabbage and Bengay permeated the atmosphere. It was currently filled with yellow- flowered sofas and blue-haired old ladies, many of whom didn't actually have appointments. They were here to drink the free coffee and sit in the waiting room playing a few rounds of Where Does It Hurt, or Who Has the Scariest Looking Mole?
I signed Aunt Ginny in at the front desk and filled the nurse in about her episode. She said they would get Aunt Ginny back right away. Not ten minutes later, a young woman in pink scrubs with the phrase Nurses Do It in Harmony embroidered over the front pocket came to fetch the crabby patient.
Aunt Ginny narrowed her eyes and grimaced at the nurse. "Where's Yolanda?"
The girl gave Aunt Ginny a pleasant smile. "Yolanda had her baby. I'm Tracy. I'll be filling in while she's on maternity leave."
Aunt Ginny stood, reluctantly. "When was the baby born?"
"Last Thursday in the middle of the night."
"Darn. I had Sunday morning in the pool."
As Tracy led Aunt Ginny through to the patient rooms, Aunt Ginny cross- examined her. "What kind of nursing degree do you have? What kind of grades did you get? I don't want to be treated by a nurse who got Cs. Why didn't you go all the way to become a doctor?"
I sent up a silent prayer for Nurse Tracy. I sat in the waiting room too upset and distracted to read the much pawed-over issues of People. I didn't know what I would do if I lost Aunt Ginny. We'd gone through a lot together. I'd fully expected her to be honored by Al Roker and the Smucker's jelly people one day. Sass and stubbornness were all that was holding her together, and they don't have a pill for that yet if it fails. She had been good to me my whole life. My mother dumped me on her doorstep when I was a kid. She had raised me, and I repaid her with a hasty exodus the moment the ink was dry on my high school diploma. If I could take it all back for a few more years with her, I would do it in a blink. Now I was responsible for her well-being. I was going to be sure to take better care of her from now on. I wiped a tear off my cheek.
Twenty minutes later, Aunt Ginny sashayed into the waiting room looking like she'd just won first place at the Senior Center Tapioca Cook-off. She waved at friends across the waiting room. "Hammish, how's the bursitis? Carol gets extra points if that rash has spread."
Nurse Tracy handed me Aunt Ginny's discharge papers. "She's suffering from anxiety and sleep deprivation. The doctor is giving her two prescriptions and she needs to relax and avoid stress as much as possible." She pointed to the papers in my hand. "She has one for her nerves and one to help her sleep."
"That's it? She doesn't need a CAT scan or anything?"
Aunt Ginny smiled at Nurse Tracy and jabbed me in the side with her elbow.
Nurse Tracy smiled back. "Nope. If she doesn't improve in a few days the doctor may order some further tests, but for now she's free to go about her regular routine."
I wondered what Nurse Tracy would say if she knew Aunt Ginny's regular routine included rollerblading on the boardwalk and Krav Maga classes. It was unusual for Aunt Ginny to fall victim to so much stress. Usually she was just a carrier.
We made a quick stop at the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions. We arrived home two hours later, loaded down with Aunt Ginny's shampoo, conditioner, ajar of Oil of Olay, a tub of Noxzema, two packs of Halls cough drops, a tube of ChapStick, a box of Turtles candy, Maybelline's entire Dazzling Disco collection of eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick, a pair of flip-flops from the dollar bin, silver glitter nail polish, emery boards, and the drugs. I was considering taking one of her antianxiety pills for my efforts.
I opened the front door and was rolled over by an eerie calm. There were no saws or electric drills. No workmen hollering in Spanish to each other. No nyuck-nyuck-nyucks from Itty Bitty Smitty. Just deafening silence. The temperature had dropped, but it was warmer outside than in the foyer. Figaro was sitting on the third step with his ears flattened against his head, swishing his tail to a menacing beat.
Aunt Ginny was frozen in place. "I don't like this."
I took a step into the house and noticed all the workmen sitting on the couch in a line in the library, hands on knees, looking straight ahead. Smitty was perched on the end wearing a scowl. They looked like little boys caught smoking in the bathroom by the principal.
I approached Smitty, their commander in chief. "What's going on? Why is no one working?"
Smitty rolled his eyes and nudged his head toward something behind me. A pair of icy hands came around to cover my eyes and a shrill voice said, "Guess who?"CHAPTER 3
I felt my chest tighten and my breath came in short bursts. Please just let me be having a stroke.
Five feet four inches of brunette wickedness packed in a vintage pink Coco Chanel suit stood in front of me.
"Georgina. What a surprise." Much like the way that iceberg was a surprise to the Titanic.
"I came to check on my investment and see how the house was coming along."
Oh, sweet Jesus.
Aunt Ginny took a seat in the wingback chair in front of the fireplace. Figaro jumped up on her lap but kept his eyes on Georgina, as if waiting for her to turn back to her natural state as Queen of the Underworld when the sun set.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Midnight Snacks Are Murder"
Copyright © 2018 Lisa Schwartz.
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
I enjoyed this book, and especially Aunt Ginny, and while the author gave us Poppy’s deceased husband’s mother, she could be a thorn in her side, she kept me guessing as to what she would do next. While there is a murder here, and that is sad, but there are so many chuckles to contact the sadness. We also see a middle age woman, Poppy, and how she is now being pursued by two eligible men, and wonder whom she will end up with? Poppy McAllister is a woman to emulate, and loved how she goes about trying to help those she loves and cares about. While this may be my first book I’ve read in this series, it sure won’t be the last! I received this book through Great Escapes Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Midnight Snacks Are Murder is a delightful cozy mystery filled with all my favorite things…quirky characters, a great storyline to keep me guessing, and the perfect amount of romance! Poppy came back to Cape May for her class reunion, never anticipating she would return to the place that held some of her most painful memories. She is beginning to accept and even embrace the charm of the beach town. Now, she is putting down roots with her Aunt Ginny, working on restoring their home to a bed and breakfast to help Aunt Ginny keep her independence. She is also expanding her gluten-free baking business as well. She not only has one man interested in her but two. Things seem to be looking up for her until her meddling mother-in-law comes to town, Aunt Ginny’s anxiety issues, and now a murder with Aunt Ginny as the prime subject. Everything else takes a backseat when she realizes she is her aunt’s only hope to staying out of jail. Oh my goodness, I loved the characters. They were all so quirky and each added something to the book! Poppy is great character. I love her wit and sense of humor. God knows she is patient, dealing with Aunt Ginny and her mother-in-law Georgina, who seems intent on ruining her renovation plans and not wanting her to date even though her husband has been dead for almost a year. She is also a very realistic character with very real emotions and completely unsure about her feelings for both Tim and Gia. Both Tim and Gia are great male romantic leads. Each has something valuable to bring to a relationship with Poppy. I want to be Aunt Ginny when I get to be her age. She is AWESOME!!! Georgina even shows a more sensitive side. Who can forget Figaro, Poppy’s faithful feline companion. I really liked the way Libby Klein developed the mystery. The murder didn’t happen right off the bat. She really took her time developing the story that lead up to the murder. There is quite a list of suspects, many with more of a motive than Aunt Ginny. However, readers will see why she is at the top of the list. I certainly enjoyed the twists and turns. Not only was this an entertaining read, but it also contained a bit of a deeper meaning. As Poppy comes to realize, not everything or every person is black or white. There are varying shades of gray. Each person has a side they chose to reveal in public, but as you look deeper, you will see that everyone is much more complex, with many different layers making up who they really are. I’m really looking forward to returning to Cape May to see how the B & B progress is going and which man, Tim or Gia, will claim her heart.
When someone starts breaking into houses in the neighborhood taking nick knacks and sweets, Poppy McAlister is shocked to discover that it is her aunt Ginny sleepwalking under the power of some new medication. However, when a murder takes place a couple of blocks away, the police zero in on Aunt Ginny as the culprit. The victim, unknown to both Poppy and Aunt Ginny, seems like he could have been a nice guy or a complete jerk. Which was true? This book spent quite a bit of time setting up the premise, but once the murder took place, things really picked up. I enjoyed needing to learn what kind of guy the victim was since it added a nice twist to the mystery. The suspects were strong, and I could have seen any of them as the killer before we reached the climax. The love triangle is just heating up; I know which guy I am rooting for, but I could see myself happy with either of them at this point. I did find a couple of the characters annoying, especially Poppy’s mother-in-law. Aunt Ginny provides lots of laughs, and the gluten-free, paleo friendly recipes at the end sound delicious.
Hillarious characters with a good plot. I didn't figure out the killer until close to the end.
Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein is the second book in A Poppy McAllister Mystery series. Poppy McAllister has her hands full with completing the renovations on Aunt Ginny’s Victorian home to turn it into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast, whipping up goodies for her gluten-free baking business, and keeping an eye on Aunt Ginny and her cat, Figaro. But then her mother-in-law, Georgina decides to visit to check on her investment and proves more of a hinderance than a help (as usual). Georgina has her own ideas for the B&B and is constantly undermining Poppy’s instructions to the contractor, Smitty. Thank heavens for Giampaolo and his soothing presence. Then strange thefts start plaguing the neighborhood where the thief is taking knickknacks and eating snacks. It seems Aunt Ginny’s new medications have caused her to sleepwalk. After a visit to the doctor, Poppy takes Aunt Ginny around the neighborhood offering apologies and returning the stolen items. The next day, police arrive to arrest Aunt Ginny for the death of Brody Brandt whose crime scene looks similar to those of the Snack Bandit as Aunt Ginny has been dubbed by the press. Someone is framing Aunt Ginny and Poppy intends to reveal the truth to keep Aunt Ginny out of the slammer. Poppy needs to work quickly, though, because Aunt Ginny is on house arrest which gives her too much time to plot mischief. Midnight Snacks are Murder will have you laughing the whole way through with Aunt Ginny and Georgina’s antics. While this is the second book in the series, it can be read alone. I thought Midnight Snacks are Murder to be nicely written, to have a steady pace and smooth transitions. While Poppy is the main character, she is overshadowed by Aunt Ginny, Georgina and Figaro (the cat). I like finding out more about Georgina and the reason for her behavior. However, I do not see her changing her behavior overnight. I find Aunt Ginny to be too over-the-top. She comes across as crazy instead of eccentric. I did not understand why the local cops did not just stick her in a cell and throw away the key when she kept escaping house arrest. The city had a cop stationed outside the house (no city can afford to waste manpower in that manner). I was happy that Poppy actively investigated the murder. I am surprised, though, that people were so willing to talk to her (it is New Jersey) considering she is not with the police or a private investigator. I thought it was a breeze to finger the culprit, but others may be surprised when the solution is revealed (depends on your sleuthing level). I did not like the love triangle present in the story or the amount of time devoted to romance. I felt Gia was coming on too strong and seems too perfect (of course, there is his mother). The presents he bought Poppy were considerate and expensive. I was drooling over the description of cobalt blue Viking dual fuel range (I want it). I enjoyed the ending with Mrs. Galbraith (it gave me a good laugh). A couple of Poppy’s recipes are included at the end of the book. If you enjoy amusing cozy mysteries with comical hijinks, then you will not want to miss Midnight Snacks are Murder.
After her decision to remain in Cape May with her Aunt Ginny, Poppy is working to settle in and start her gluten free baking business as well as open the B&B. Aunt Ginny is having some health issue so the doctor prescribes anti-anxiety meds as well as some sleeping pills. Problems arise because Aunt Ginny begins to sleepwalk, visiting neighbors homes in the middle of the night snacking and thieving her way around the neighborhood. When a neighbor turns up dead, could Aunt Ginny have been responsible? Not only does Poppy need to protect Aunt Ginny and prove she isn't the murderer, she has to deal with her overbearing mother-in-lkaw Georgina who has moved in and taken over the renovation project for the B&B. I absolutely loved the book. The characters are fun and whimsical and the mystery kept my interest and I can't wait for the next one!
If you thought you got the best of Aunt Ginny in Class Reunions are Murder, you're in for a treat! Aunt Ginny is bigger, better, more entertaining and more criminal than ever in the newest entry into the Poppy McAllister series. When neighbors discover property missing from their houses, they aren't sure what is going on in the neighborhood. Most thefts are occurring overnight and there doesn't seem to be a point of entry made. Who is the culprit? Soon a murder is discovered in the same neighborhood - is the midnight cat burglar the same as the person who murdered local Teen Center counselor, Brody Brandt? You don't want to miss this entertaining, funny, fast paced mystery. Enjoy seeing how Tim and Gia fit into Poppy's love life, along with mother-in-law Georgina and handy man Smitty - never a slow moment with all of these lovable characters (yes even Georgina, even though she's a mother-in-law I'd like to strangle!!). I really enjoyed this book and really look forward to all future entries in this series! I think Poppy McAllister and Aunt Ginny could be our next sought after crime duo, a la Stephanie Plum and her Grandmother!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Poppy has a lot on her plate trying to get the B&B ready to open. There have been many delays but things slow down, even more, when her “silent partner” mother-in-law shows up and does her best to convince Poppy to just sell the place, especially with the rash of crime hitting the neighborhood. The Snack Bandit aka Aunt Ginny has been sneaking into her neighbor’s houses in the middle of the night. As a side effect of one of her new medications, she has been sleepwalking. Then a man is found dead in his home and the police put Ginny under house arrest as their prime suspect. Just what they don’t need is another family scandal. Poppy will clear her aunt’s name, prove the police wrong and get her business off the ground no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way. Another stellar entry from Ms. Klein. I absolutely love these characters. Poppy is a strong woman, that makes a huge step toward her independence, taking on her mother-in-law in this story. I don’t know how she held out as long as she did but this reader was cheering from the sidelines. Her romantic relationships are moving forward too in a very natural and unhurried pace. So realistic and believable. Aunt Ginny is a hoot and a half. Her antics while under house arrest were fabulously funny. Laughing out loud, you bet I was. Cat, Figaro is an absolute prize. The author’s descriptions of his behavior make him come to life and leap off the pages. The mystery is quite a puzzler. It was so much fun chasing down clues with Poppy. The victim appears to be very well liked but there were surprisingly several suspects for his murder. Like the first book in this series, Class Reunions Are Murder, I was totally surprised when the killer was revealed. I believe at one time or another I thought each of the suspects was guilty. Ms. Klein has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her stories deliver everything I love about cozy mysteries. Genuine characters in serious situations, but with a huge dose of humor too. I can’t wait for book #3, Restaurant Weeks Are Murder, will be released in February 2019. This book, like the first, deserves more than 5 stars!
This second installment in the Poppy McAllister mystery series continues the madcap adventures of the recently widowed Poppy and her 80-something Aunt Ginny in the seaside town of Cape May, New Jersey. Poppy has a busy life settling back into the town she couldn't wait to leave as a young adult. When she's not baking her gluten-free delights, Poppy is juggling the attention of two equally delectable suitors; keeping her spirited aunt out of trouble; managing the renovations on Aunt Ginny's Victorian home; and putting up with her pushy, opinionated mother-in-law, who is determined to remain a part of Poppy's life and a constant thorn in her side. As if all this weren't enough to test Poppy's sanity, Aunt Ginny begins sleepwalking in the wee hours of the morning, breaking into neighborhood homes, helping herself to midnight snacks, and stealing knickknacks. Based on her nocturnal activities, Aunt Ginny is accused of killing local humanitarian Brody Brandt, who is found bludgeoned to death in his bed, with remains of a snack close by. Is Aunt Ginny capable of such a heinous crime? Or is she being framed for the murder by someone with a grudge against the victim? And who would wish harm on the seemingly model citizen who has spent years helping troubled youth in the community? Poppy is frustrated by the police's pursuit of an open-and-shut case against Aunt Ginny and undertakes her own investigation, much to the consternation of her former high school nemesis, Police Officer Amber Fenton. Poppy's interviews and research unveil disreputable actions in Brody Brandt's past, which expand the number of possible suspects. As the plot moves along, the author's use of red herrings and dead ends keep readers delightfully engaged and in the dark until the story's final chapters. Enhancing the mystery angle are the lively parade of larger-than-life characters that populate the story; the many humorous scenes and predicaments; the snappy dialogue throughout; and the antics of the furry feline Figaro. This series features all of the things that draw readers to cozies, especially lovable main characters who feel like friends. This sophomore book solidly highlights Klein's writing skill and talent for entertaining, firmly establishing her as a master of the cozy genre. While Midnight Snacks are MURDER can be read as a stand-alone, I suggest readers also treat themselves to Class Reunions are MURDER, the first book in the series. I'm happy to say that the third book in the series, Restaurant Weeks are MURDER, will be published in 2019.
Libby Klein is a genius!! I'm not kidding. I've read one of the two books she has written and she's already on my must-read list. Reading her book was the highlight of my week!! Not only did she write a main character that was totally relatable and believable, she surrounded her with a wonderful combination of supportive characters. I found myself reading parts of it out loud to whomever was around me and they were as amused as I was. Not only that but it is so refreshing to have such a perfectly imperfect heroine as we find in Poppy. We get a new to the dating world grown up woman with a previous 20 years of marriage under her belt. At the end, there are gluten free and paleo friendly recipes that actually look good. The characters are described so well, I could easily cast them in my head (which is great because this totally needs to become a tv series). I cannot think of a single way this book could be improved upon. I read it in one sitting. I could not put it down no matter what. Thank you so much to Kensington Books, NetGalley, and Libby Klein for the opportunity to read this incredible story and share my honest opinions with others.
This is the follow-up book to, Class Reunions Are Murder. It is the second book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series. Poppy is back in Cape May, NJ after the death of her husband and is busily renovating her Aunt Ginny’s home into a B&B. Poppy’s former mother-in-law arrives to “help out” with renovation ideas, driving everyone a little bit crazy. Poor Aunt Ginny becomes a sleepwalker after being prescribed medication to manage her anxiety during the mayhem. Soon, small items are being taken all over the neighborhood and Aunt Ginny’s sleepwalking is to blame! Before they know it, Aunt Ginny’s sleepwalking implicates her in a murder as well. Midnight Snacks Are Murder is a light, fun and upbeat cozy mystery.
Ohmigosh! Where do I begin! First, this book has everything I look for in a cozy mystery. It’s top-notch entertainment. The mystery is superb. I couldn’t guess the killer until the author revealed the connection that made revenge acceptable in the killer’s sick mind. I love all the characters that are lovable and dislike all the characters that are mean. I laughed-out-loud so much my sides hurt! Libby Klein is an author to watch, and her books are now automatic buys for this cozy reader. Poppy McAllister is a sassy, wise-cracking, plus-size protagonist living in beautiful Cape May, New Jersey with her 80+ year old Aunt Ginny, whose health is still really good...let’s just say she needs supervision. Make that lots of supervision. Remodeling Aunt Ginny’s Old Victorian into Butterfly House Bed & Breakfast is hard on their nerves, plus their budget is tight. When Poppy’s mother-in-law, Georgina, arrives and adds her dictatorial and snoopy personality into the mix; the fur starts to fly. And, speaking of fur, wait’ll you see how Poppy’s cat, Figaro, handles the frenzy and chaos! I love this cat❣️ Lastly, I would give this book 10 Stars if I could. Definitely a keeper. I read and reviewed an ARC provided by the author. Thank you.
Poppy McAllister has moved back home to Cape May, New Jersey, and is in the midst of opening a bed and breakfast with her beloved Aunt Ginny, when her mother-in-law, Georgina, appears on the front step announcing her intentions to move in and protect her investment. As if this isn't stressful enough, dear old Aunt Ginny is accused of burglary after a change in medication causes her to sleepwalk and break into her neighbors' homes, and when one of those neighbors is found brutally murdered Aunt Ginny is accused of the crime. Combine this with the fact that widow Poppy has two men vying for her affections, and her bestie, Sawyer, seems to be hiding something, Midnight Snacks Are Murder is a rolicking good read, and a laugh out loud cozy mystery that, if you're like me, will keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime because it's simply too good to put down. So good that on a scale of one to five stars, I'm gonna have to give it a ten! Oh, and by the way, I'm completely #TeamGia! :D