Wednesday, November 21, 2007

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES by Maggie Barbieri (St. Martin's Minataur)

For a small Catholic college English professor, Alison Bergon has a lot of murder and mayhem in her life. In her first outing(Murder 101), she was suspected of murder. This time, she finds a victim in her kitchen, another in her neighbor's yard, and there's a mob boss popping up all over the place. Her boyfriend is not-quite divorced; her best friend, the priest, is trying to fix her up with his brother; and her next-door neighbor had an affair with Alison's husband. Did I mention the elderly deli owner who's got a crush on her?

Barbieri is writing mysterious chick lit at its best. You'll see why I sat up 'way too late finishing this one.

DYING TO BE THIN by kathryn Lilley (Obsidian Mystery)

In the first "Fat City" mystery, young Kate Gallagher comes to Durham NC to change her life. She's just out of a job (even having won an award as a TV producer; she's without a boyfriend; and she's up 50 pounds. She's investing part of her severance pay into a live-in diet program, and she's convinced a local TV station to let her do an ongoing segment about her progress on the air. Her plans change almost as soon as she checks in--not only does she find the director's body, but she realizes that there are many inconsistencies within the program. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced romp through the world of weight loss and local TV programming.

STRING OF LIES by Mary Ellen Hughes (Berkley Prime Crime)

The second in the "Craft Corner" mysteries was just as enjoyable as the first (Wreath of Deception). When local developer Parker Holt begins buying up small businesses on her street, craft store owner Jo McAllister has reason to be concerned. Her worries escalate when her dear friend and husband of her best friend is the prime suspect in Parker's murder. Once again Jo galvanizes her customer-friends in her beading class to ferret out clues which will clear Dan's name.

I like Jo and her friends.The mystery is reasonable, with fair clues, and the tips on beading add color to the pages. I'd recommend this series to any cozy-reading crafter.