Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery; lots of laughs
Cons: Pacing early on; characters have room to grow
The Bottom Line:
A popular girl
Murdered at her reunion
Laughs with the clues here
Murderous Welcome Back to High School
There are supposed to be two kinds of people who look back at high school – those who look back at it as the best time of their life, and those who look back with thanks that it is behind them. I actually don’t know any of the first group, but for the rest of us, there is Class Reunions are Murder, the fun first mystery in the new Poppy McAllister Mysteries by Libby Klein.
Poppy wasn’t planning to attend her 25th high school reunion. The recent widow is still trying to recover from her loss, but a mysterious note from Barbie, the most popular girl in high school, coupled with pleas from her friends brings her back to New Jersey.
And the reunion goes about as well as Poppy expects it to. While she’s happy to see her friends again, she sees that many people in her class haven’t changed, including Barbie and her click. After a particularly nasty run in with Barbie, Poppy steps out into the hall to find Barbie dead outside Poppy’s old locker. With the case being investigated by one of Barbie’s friends who has it in for her, Poppy realizes she needs to clear her name herself. But with the wake of enemies Barbie left behind her, can Poppy find the killer?
The pacing in the book is a little off, especially in the beginning as we get Poppy’s background early on. However, once we meet Barbie things pick up, and there are some good twists after the murder takes place. I didn’t have the killer pegged, but the solution made perfect sense. A sub-plot involving Poppy’s great aunt Tilly adds a nice touch to the book.
And speaking of Aunt Tilly, she is a hoot! There are a lot of laughs in this book, and many of them come from her. She is eccentric and perfectly lovable.
Poppy and Aunt Tilly are the strongest of the main characters. The rest are good, but there is definitely room for them to grow as the series progresses, and I look forward to getting to know them better. Poppy’s background adds a serious touch to the comedy in the book, and the two are balanced perfectly.
Barbie was not a nice woman when she was alive, and we get a glimpse of that before she is murdered. Naturally, that means there are a lot of suspects. It was a bit of work at first keeping them all straight but as the book progressed I was able to remember who all of them were.
One of the sub-plots of the book involves Poppy changing her diet, and that is reflected in the recipes in the back of the book. We get several recipes, and they are all Paleo recipes. Several of them combine for enchiladas, and then there is a recipe for strawberry vanilla muffins
Class Reunions are Murder is a promising series debut. It’s light and fun with a more serious side to ground it. I’m looking forward to visiting Poppy again.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.