Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Foul Play at the PTA-Laura Alden

Foul Play at the PTA
Laura Alden
Obsidian, Jul 5 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451234087

In Rynwood, Wisconsin, single mother of two Beth Kennedy owns Children’s Bookshelf and is Tarver Elementary PTA secretary, a position she accepted in order to give back to the community. The PTA normally meets on a Wednesday night, but this week they get together on Thursday because Beth has a proposal that she could not present on Wednesday as her employee refused to work late at her bookstore.

Beth and her BFF Marina walk towards their car, but are surprised to see Sam Helmstetter’s vehicle parked nearby as he left before them. They go over Sam’s car to see if he needs help, only they find him apparently strangled to death; his scarf around his neck seemingly the murder weapon. Having solved one murder already (see Murder at the PTA), Beth and Marina agree to let the police solve this one. Bethe hires a woman who spent time in prison on a homicide conviction; DNA proved her innocence, but the townsfolk, thinking he is the killer, protest by picketing and boycotting her store. As she faces bankruptcy and to provide closure for Sam’s widow, Beth accompanied by her sidekick tries to figure out who the killer is without hopefully the culprit becoming aware of their inquiry.

Readers with elementary school children can relate to the heroine for obvious reasons and so will the rest of the amateur sleuth audience because Beth is an every woman trying to keep her business afloat. The single mom and her buddy resonate with fans as they search for clues and interview suspects, but try to do so without drawing suspicion from the culprit as to their investigation. Laura Alden writes a fun filled regional cozy filled with eccentric cheese head Packers.

Harriet Klausner

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