September 12, 2013

Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club

Title: Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club
Author: Liz Stauffer
Publisher: Sartoris Literary Group
Medium: Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:
When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her. That same day Hester Franklin, another breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he is arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list. But it's when Lillie Mae Harris, the club's leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended. Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own back yard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one believes she did it, but Clare insists she's guilty and mysteriously refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends. The Thursday Morning Breakfast Club ladies believe she's protecting someone, and they vow to find out who it is. Charlie Warren, the town's homegrown policeman, using unconventional means, collaborates with the breakfast club ladies to draw out the real criminal. But danger lurks. Alice Portman, the matriarch of the breakfast club, is struck down in her own yard and is sent to the hospital. Then others in the small community start to disappear-one after the other. As the ladies get closer to the truth, they get closer to the danger. With no time to cry over spilled coffee, they form a plan to capture the true culprits before someone else is murdered.

Sometimes you just need to read a cozy mystery. The multitude of characters, each unique in their own way spinning you around like a top that never seems to topple keeps me coming back for these wonderful little books. I love the plots and the development and the whodunit style of writing. I love wondering if every character was the culprit and can hardly wait until that final moment when the story is wrapped up in a pretty bow just waiting for me to turn the page to open the gift of resolution. I love the quaint settings and can just picture those cute little neighborhoods where everyone is friends, but always suspicious of one another. I love the endless pots of coffee the characters drink and have always wondered how many coffee cakes are consumed during one of these books.

Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club had all the qualities of a cozy mystery that I enjoy and love. I was intrigued by the cast of characters, the picket fences, the dead bodies and the coffee (and cake)! I was impressed that the author added fine subtleties that made me second and third guess that who I thought the murderer was, really wasn't or was it. I think by climax of the book I had everyone listed as a suspect, some twice, and when that present Ms. Stauffer wrapped up in a bow for me was finally revealed I was giddy with happiness!

Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club was a fun, quick little book that made a fine companion for a few days. The ending brought me back to a childhood Saturday morning memory of television long, long ago!

I did find the excessive use of the word "dear" to be a bit annoying (52 times annoying by my handy Kindle search feature). I spend a lot of time with senior citizens and retired folks and am never called dear by any of them. I like to believe the author was trying to convey quaint and respect and "old school" with her use of it, but the book honestly did not need that to get that point across to me as a reader.

I really enjoyed Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club. I will definitely watch for future cozy mysteries from Ms. Stauffer as the weather cools off and I need that comfortable soothing feel of a mini tornado of plot and character in my mind to make me warm and fuzzy.

Liz Stauffer

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