Who Wants to Kill Ellison?
I have so many series I’ve started, enjoyed, and yet I fall further and further behind as the author keeps writing new books. One of those is the Country Club Mysteries by Julie Mulhern. The series has lots of fans, and each time I read one, I am reminded why I want to read more. Clouds in My Coffee is the third, and it was another fun book.
This series is set in Kansas City in the 1970’s. It features Ellison Russell, a recent widow who is trying to raise her teenage daughter and keep her mother happy all while she keeps stumbling over dead bodies, which does not make her mother happy.
Her mother has been planning a big gala for months, and the weekend of the event has finally drawn nigh. Much to Ellison’s surprise, her Aunt Sis and her sister, Margorie, have arrived in town for the event. With both of them staying with her, the weekend is turning out to be chaotic.
And that’s before the series of potentially deadly accidents start. First, a statue almost falls on Ellison at a pre-event party. Then someone firebombs her house. Ellison can’t figure out who might want to kill her, but can she solve the riddle before they succeed?
Despite some serious themes, these books have a wonderful sense of humor. The character interactions will make you laugh, mainly because we aren’t in Ellison’s shoes. Dealing with her relatives in real life would certainly be trying on anyone. Meanwhile, there are also some pretty funny events that happens around the more serious murder attempts. The book finds a way to balance those easily.
There is plenty of family drama here, and it kept me going more than the mystery did. Not that I’m complaining that much since I wanted to know just how everything would play out. Overall, the mystery was weak. Enjoyable, but weak. I feel that’s because the family drama was front and center. So if you are looking for a book focused on a mystery, this isn’t for you. But if you are looking for an entertaining read with a mystery as part of the story, pick up this book because you’ll certainly enjoy it.
Also be aware that some of the storyline introduces a bit more mature content than in many of the books I read. I’d rate this book as PG-13. Know that going in, and you’ll be fine.
Even though it’s been a while since I read the first two books in the series, I fell right back into Ellison’s world. That’s because the characters are so strong. I am glad to be back in their presence and find out a little more about what’s going on in their lives. I know how a few of those storylines play out in later books, and I enjoy watching the seeds being laid here.
I will say that Ellison annoyed me at times. Despite everything happening around her, she keeps insisting she doesn’t need protection and gets annoyed with those who insist she does. I get wanting to be independent, but there’s a fine line between independent and stupid, and I felt like she crossed it a couple of times. Fortunately, it wasn’t a major issue in the book.
The 1970’s setting comes alive. While I was born in the 70’s myself, I know enough about the decade (not from my own memories, necessarily) to get the pop culture and historical references and the comments on fashion and decor. This also adds to the fun of the book.
Hopefully, it won’t be as long before I take another trip back to visit Ellison and find out what is happening in her world. If you are looking for an amusing time machine, Clouds in My Coffee is the book for you.Enjoy more trips back to the 70's with the rest of the Country Club Mysteries.