Friday, January 30, 2015

Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King | Review

Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King
Published: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 400
Received: from publisher for honest review via NetGalley
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Chapters

Hazel Rose never dreamed that the murder mystery book group she and her friend Carlene started would stage a "real "murder. 

Nevertheless, on the night when the normally composed Carlene seems unusually angry and rattled, during group discussion she dies after drinking cyanide-spiked tea. Despite a suicide note, Hazel is skeptical; Carlene never seemed suicidal--why else would she make all those plans for her future? Incidentally, Carlene was married to Hazel's ex-husband, and Hazel has always suspected there might be something more to her past than she let on.

How much does anyone really know about Carlene Arness? And did she die by her own hand or someone else's? Hazel begins a search for the truth that produces no shortage of motives, as she unearths a past that Carlene took great pains to hide. And most of those motives belong to the members of her very own book group...

Featuring memorable characters and a wicked sense of humor, "Murder at the Book Group" shows the darker side of a book club where reading isn't about pleasure--it's about payback.

What would you do if the co-founder of your mystery book group is found dead at your most recent meeting? Why, start your own investigation into her murder and find out who could be suspects. Just because there is a suicide note, doesn't mean that she really took her own life. This is exactly what Hazel Rose does when Carlene Arness is found dead at the end of a book group meeting from an apparent cyanide suicide.

Hazel doesn't believe it's a suicide and slowly starts putting the pieces of the puzzle together with some of her own sleuthing. It's interesting to see how many people she interacts with and the kinds of information that she can gather without having to carry a badge. It seems as though everyone in the book group just might have a motive for wanting Carlene gone. So much drama is in this book while unraveling the world of Carlene, who she really was and the relationships between everyone involved (book group members, friends, enemies, lovers, etc).

The setting of a murder happening at a book group is an interesting new idea and I felt that it added a bit of humour to say the least since it became it's own mystery to solve. Was it suicide or murder? Who could have done it? The only thing might be that there is a lot of background and relationship details to take in involving all of the possible suspects.

I adored Hazel for her love of books and writing and her dedication to trying to do the right thing. Since she is the narrator of the book you see most of the story through her eyes and it's interesting to see how she uncovers each part of the mystery almost like she researching her next novel. 

A good start to a new cozy mystery series.

Read my interview with Maggie King here and see her workspace!

About the Author:
Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor.
Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.


  1. Chrystal, thanks so much for your thoughtful review.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Maggie!

    2. Who knew that book clubs could be so dang interesting, well aside from the obvious (getting to gab about awesome titles) that is. I think I'd connect easily with Hazel, the protagonist, and any plot that revolves around fiction makes my inner geek girl happy. Wonderful review!

      Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    3. Thank you for the kind words about my review Carmel.


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