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Foul Play at the PTA
PTA Mystery Series, No 2
Laura Alden

July 2011/ ISBN 978-0-451-23408-7
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth/Cozy

Reviewed by
Laura Hinds

Beth Kennedy has her hands full. A divorced mother of two, she owns the local children’s bookstore and has taken on the role of secretary of the Tarver Elementary PTA as well. She also helped solve a murder just a year before (see Murder at the PTA). Now one of her employees has quit/been fired and her replacement is a recently acquitted murder suspect who spent years behind bars after being falsely accused and convicted. When another murder happens, this time in the school parking lot, and Beth’s new employee is once again a suspect, Beth and her best friend, Marina, put their detective caps back on in this second book in the series.

Author Laura Alden has done a great job in furthering the development of her main character and continuing characters in this book, while at the same time introducing new people to help push this story along independently. The clever use of quirks make Marina and her co-worker, Lois, unique personalities. Alden also uses these quirks to cast them in the roles of comic relief and as a solid support system for Beth. Their quirks, especially Marina’s, cause Beth to examine herself more closely and to open up and try new things.

Beth’s kids are true to life, and her handsome boyfriend may be the envy of many women readers. I enjoyed reading about the bookstore and about the various locales in the small town too. As in the first book in this series, Beth had no intention of getting involved in trying to solve a murder, yet how could she not? The layers of clues laid out are realistic and the plot obviously meticulously planned. The book is a smooth read, easily read in a day, but yet also a good book to put down and pick up again for bedtime reading. The story and characters are easy to remember and keep track of, and picking up with the next chapter is like reconnecting with a friend after a short time apart.

This is a great summer read, and cozy mystery lovers will welcome this second in the series. If you haven’t read Murder at the PTA, do so, although Foul Play at the PTA works well on its own too. It is just that much more fun if you read both so you are in on the ground floor and can get to know the characters the way the author did as she wrote about them. This book is fine for all ages and would be a good selection for a book club. Two thumbs up from this reviewer! Enjoy!

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011