Life is quiet in St. Stanley, Virginia, and Maggie Gerber likes it like that. Widowed at a young age, Maggie's daughter is away at college, but her niece Sandy and her two-year-old son Josh live with her while Sandy studies nursing and her husband is in Afghanistan. Maggie's a founding member of the Good Buy Girls, a group of friends who meet weekly to share coupons and to plan their buying strategies. But all that quiet goodness is about to change....
Sam Collins is the new sheriff in town. That bodes ill since he and Maggie have been at each other's throats since they were in diapers. Maggie decides that she's going to avoid him as much as possible, but it simply is not meant to be. Claire Fremont-- Good Buy Girl, local librarian, and all-round good person-- has been hauled off to jail by none other than Sam Collins himself after a body is found in the library basement. Claire not only knew the victim, she owns the cake knife that was found buried in his chest. Although Maggie realizes Claire isn't being completely honest with her, she knows Claire to be incapable of murder, so Maggie sets out to find the real killer-- whether the high and mighty Sheriff Sam Collins likes it or not!
I was a bit hesitant to give this book a try. Having spent most of my working life in the retail field, I've lived through madness like the Cabbage Patch Dolls and Tickle Me Elmo (to name a few), and once you've stood on the other side of the door from a seething crowd showing mob-like tendencies, it tends to color how you look at a group of women who have battle plans when they go out to shop.
I shouldn't have worried because the ultimate reason why I read the book-- author Jenn McKinlay writing as Josie Belle-- is the reason why I loved it. McKinlay has such a playful and slightly twisted sense of humor that I can't help but smile and laugh as I read her books. The four women who comprise the Good Buy Girls are fabulous characters who work well together whether it's shopping for Gucci or searching for clues. I even enjoyed the sparks flying between Maggie and Sam. Let's face it. All that fussing and feuding since they were toddlers? What else could it have been leading to?
I loved the characters, and the humor. I even appreciated the shopping because the Good Buy Girls have taken the time to get to know the businesses and the business people in their area. It's not just about scoring a deal; it's also about friendship and looking out for each other. The only thing that marred this book for me was the blazing red neon sign hanging above the killer's head, and although that was a bit of a disappointment, I don't really care. McKinlay/Belle has created such a great cast of characters that I'm really looking forward to reading what they get into next.
50% Off Murder by Josie Belle
Berkley Prime Crime © 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Good Buy Girls
Source: Paperback Swap