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50% Off Murder
Good Buy Girls Mystery #1
Josie Belle

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2012/ 978-0-425-24702-0

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Saint Stanley, Virginia is home to a group of bargain hunting women who call themselves the Good Buy Girls (GBG). Charter member Maggie Gerber has an eye for bargains, and a nose for getting to the heart of the matter. When her friend and fellow Good Buy Girl, Claire Freemont, finds herself in trouble, Maggie makes it her business to save her friend from murder charges.

Claire is a librarian, and a relative newcomer to town and to the GBG group. Claire behaves strangely one evening during a group meeting, sparking Maggie's curiosity. The very next day, the body of a man who was stabbed to death is found. He died in the basement of the library, and once Claire owns up to having had a past relationship with him she is named as the chief suspect.

The new sheriff in town is not only on Claire's case, he's also on Maggie's last nerve. He and Maggie have a contentious relationship that began when they were toddlers and went through a romantic phase during high school. Maggie not only wants to help Claire, she wants to show up the man who deeply hurt her many years ago.

50% Off Murder begins with the GBG on their marks to be first at a twice-a-year shoe sale. Their methods for making the most of a sale are smart and effective. One of my favorite things about this book is learning their strategies. I love a good bargain myself and really wish I had such a supportive group to hunt for deals with. Author Josie Belle (who also writes as Jenn McKinlay) has woven together a cast of women who act their age, know how to ferret out information, and whose friendships know no boundaries.

I enjoyed the Virginia setting, the entire cast of characters and the light humor scattered throughout. When you have a librarian as a potential murderer, an antagonistic relationship between the sheriff and an amateur sleuth, and a group of seasoned and determined bargain hunters it is the perfect recipe for a modern day cozy mystery. The book is appropriate for teens to adults and would be great for a book club selection or a fun book to share with a couponing or bargain hunting group of your own.

Reviews of other titles in this series

50% Off Murder, #1
A Deal to Die For, #2

Reviewed 2012