Friday, June 19, 2009

Organize Your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini

Title: Organize Your Corpses
Author: Mary Jane Maffini
ISBN: 9780425215807, Berkley Prime Crime, 2007
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, #1 Charlotte Adams mystery
Rating: B

First Line: "Is this some kind of death wish?"

Charlotte Adams has moved back to Woodbridge, New York, and is trying to get her personal organizer business firmly established. That is the sole reason why, against everyone's advice, she accepts the job from "Hellfire" Henley, the school teacher everyone in town loves to hate. Things can't get much worse when Charlotte goes over to have Henley sign a contract and finds the former teacher's body buried under a mountain of clutter. You see...her former best friend is now a police officer and would love nothing better than to pin the crime on Charlotte. Charlotte's got to organize her own investigation to stay out of prison.

Maffini surrounds her main character with a cast of interesting friends and acquaintances, as well as giving readers organizational tips at the beginning of each chapter. Charlotte's landlord is her friend, Jack, who's never met a meal he didn't want to mooch and who constantly tries to get Charlotte to adopt homeless animals. How in the world she could adopt any more when she's already got her hands full with two misbehaving Dachshunds named Truffle and Sweet Marie is beyond me.

This is a traditional cozy mystery in which both the plot and the mystery take a backseat to the characters. Maffini's characterization is skilled, and I grew to like Charlotte, especially when she befriends an elderly shut-in, Rose, who bakes a mean batch of cookies.

Will I continue on with the series? I'm not sure. I used to love cozies, but within the past couple of years, I've found myself moving away from them and steering myself toward darker and heavier fare. Would I recommend this series to readers who love this genre? You bet! With the cast of characters Maffini has created, I can see Charlotte organizing investigations in many a mystery yet to come.


  1. Sounds good to me! I really enjoy cozies interspersed among other heavier reading. A steady diet of them~ no, but some days I just feel like reading something lighter and would certainly prefer a cozy over chick lit for light reads.

  2. I'm like Kaye - I enjoy a cozy from time to time, but wouldn't want to read them all the time.

  3. I've been moving away from cozies over the years too but I'm still always on the look out for a promising series. this sounds pretty fun so I'll have to keep it on my list :)

  4. I cannot speak for all of maledom, but I don't care for cozies. It's the heavier stuff I like: my current read is John Connolly's The Lovers, the 8th in his Charlie Parker series. Dark stuff indeed.

  5. Sounds like a fair review. I like cozies just fine, but I can't plow through them as my only reading.

  6. I like Cozies generally but not all the time as lets face it they are pretty much the same.

    A good review of this book.

  7. Kaye--I have to admit that I'm slightly allergic to chick lit. (Don't tell anyone!) A cozy now and then is perfect, but I read many fewer of them than in years past.

    Kathy--Nothing but cozies? Ack! I agree!

    Iliana--If you get a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it. This book has a very promising cast of characters.

    Charlie--It must have something to do with me doddering towards old age that I'm losing my fluffier side in preference to hardboiled and noir. I have yet to see a male enjoy a cozy, but I'm sure those guys do exist.

    Beth--you and I are readers who prefer variety!

    Caspette--You're right. They are pretty much the same. Thanks for stopping by!


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