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The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder
Charlotte Adams Mystery, No 5
Mary Jane Maffini

April 2011/ ISBN 978-0-425-24060-1

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Organizational whiz Charlotte Adams is the victim of a reverse 911 call. Loosely translated, that means that her local 911 operator has called her for help when a bully girl from their high school days has decided to come back to Woodbridge for a reunion that is bound to stir up nothing but trouble. The 911 operator, Mona Pringle, lets Charlotte know just how much she’d like to kill mean girl Serena, but Charlotte doesn’t take this seriously. After all, who hasn’t said “I’d like to kill so-and-so” without really having any intention of doing so? But when a Serena look a like is mowed down and then another of the mean girls is also killed, panic sets in for Charlotte as no one knows where Mona has disappeared to. She could, after all, have meant every word!

Author Mary Jane Maffini shows that she knows her stuff when it comes to organizational tips that appear at the start of each chapter. Yet more important, she demonstrates her ability to have a well plotted mystery flow smoothly and meaningfully while at the same time sharing her characters intrinsic traits and just how their pasts have made them who they are now. Charlotte’s friends are each special, and Sally, Margaret, Pepper and Jack really do add to the depth of Maffini’s story-telling in their own specific manners. Therapy dogs in training Truffle and Sweet Marie add the human-animal connection that so many mystery readers enjoy as well.

I’ve read this series from the beginning, although I hate to admit I did miss out on Closet Confidential. But that’s ok, having enjoyed reading The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder has reminded me to go back and catch up on what I missed as I look forward to the next book to come!

Highly recommended for all mystery readers and most especially those of us who yearn to be organized! This book will help you with that too. As soon as I saw the notation on the cover “Organizing Tips Included” I immediately cleared my workspace so I’d have room not only for this fun book but so that I could look around and see the fruits of those tips come to life in my office.

Reviewer's Note: More on the Series at Amazon
Reviewed 2011
© 2011