Cozy Mystery Reviews

New Math is MurderNEW MATH IS MURDER, by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa (Page Spring Publishing, 2014, $10.99)  takes us behind the scenes in a community where everyone knows everyone, and no one is supposed to have secrets… except, as would-be reporter Colleen Caruso finds out, they do.  She didn’t expect to trip over the body of  math teacher Jason Whitley during her morning jog, but her editor at the newspaper thinks  would be a dandy way to boost circulation if Colleen would write a column about the on-going investigation.  Colleen learns more about Mr. Whitley’s extra-curricular activities than she really wants to, defends her best friend from a charge of murder, and faces a killer with a truly twisted motive.  Who says nothing every happens in a small town in New Jersey.

Lois Winston’s reluctant sleuth, Anastasia Pollack is back in another wild romp. In DECOUPAGE CAN BE Decoupage Can Be DeadlyDEADLY (Lois Winston, 2013, $14.95) she and her fellow-editors at American Woman are being upstaged at a major consumer show by the upstart editor-in-chief of a new magazine in their parent company’s line-up, an ex-rapper named Philomena.  When Philomena turns up dead in the magazine’s headquarters, the CEO bribes Anastasia to investigate.  Meanwhile, Anastasia is dealing with a long-lost half-brother-in-law who wants to buy his way into her family, her much-married mother’s latest trip to the altar, her unreformed Communist mother-in-law’s tantrums, and her tenant who insists that he is not a CIA agent.

There’s plenty of action, as Anastasia faces down yet another crazed killer. Decoupage instructions add to the book’s usefulness.

Missing You in Atlantic CityMISSING YOU IN ATLANTIC CITY, by Jane Kelly (Plexus Publishing, 2014, $14.95)  shows how the past can influence the present, and affect the future.  Meg Daniels is in Atlantic City, taking some time off her Bahamas job as concierge for the Artistical Hotel and Casino, when she’s asked to do a little snooping on behalf of lounge singer Johnny Angelini. His mother disappeared fifty years before, during the turbulent Democratic Presidential Convention, and Johnny’s been waiting all that time for some answers. Did she just walk out, or was there something more sinister going on? Meg  learns about the darker side of the ’60’s political scene, when just being rich and male was enough to empower a young and arrogant rising star. There’s a nasty secret that someone doesn’t want to be unearthed, and Meg has to fight for her life to  solve the puzzle of Betty Boyle’s disappearance.  A fascinating look at Atlantic City, today and yesterday.

Rogow Dobson Doyle DQC

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