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Eternally 21
A Mrs. Frugalicious Shopping Mystery #1
Linda Joffe Hull

Midnight Ink
June 2013/ ISBN-10: 0738734896
Cozy Mystery

Reviewed by Cheryl Green

While Maddie Michaels might not have been considered a superhero, she did have a secret identity. Her husband is the host of a local financial TV show. So finding out that he lost everything in a Ponzi type scheme would not be good for his career. The Michaels family had to keep up the appearance that things were status quo. Behind the scenes and unbeknownst to even her husband and sons, Maddie had become Mrs. Frugalicious. She even has a website devoted to saving money. She practiced what she preached and used coupons galore.

On one trip to the mall to answer a question posed by one of her devoted Frugarmy, things do not go as planned. In the store Eternally 21, Maddie is taken away by the mall cop Griff for shoplifting. Maddie was just taking notes for the blog she would be writing later that day. After proving to Griff that she did not steal the earrings that the manager Laila DeSimione accused her of doing, Maddie did what anyone who was upset would do - hit the food court. After loading up her tray with all kinds of food (mostly for her sons to eat as a snack later that day), Maddie walked right into Tara Hu the assistant manager of Eternally 21. It looks like a food fight happened without the fun. Tara tells Maddie she is sorry for what happened and that she put aside all of her items. Most of all she would honor all of her coupons if she came back and made her purchase. Tara said Laila would be out of the store at 12:30PM and to come back then.

Unfortunately, things will not go as planned and Laila checks Maddie out and offers her another 10% discount to open a store account. A phone call takes Laila away and when she returns, her speech is slurred and she collapses and faints. Griff the mall cop does CPR and keeps are alive until the paramedics arrive. Later on Maddie finds out that Laila died. Looked like Mrs. Frugalicious will have to put her web site on hold and solve this suspicious death. Maddie better be real careful or she could end up without a discount.

Things to ponder: How did Laila DeSimone die? Will Maddie continue to keep her Frugalicious identity a secret? What happened to Chili the cat?

This was a very fast read for me. I had it on my kindle the day I had Jury Duty and finished it before we were sent on our lunch break. I actually forgot how uncomfortable I was sitting in the jury lounge when I started reading Eternally 21. I loved the quirky characters and how they enhanced the storyline. The author includes shopping hints too. So if you are up for a little bargain shopping, then Eternally 21 is a book you should read.

Reviewed 2013