Thursday, July 23, 2020

Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell

Speaking of Murder (A Lauren Rousseau Mystery Book 1) by [Edith Maxwell]
Good Day!  July is going by so quickly.  On August 4, Love in Unlikely Places by Linda Byler is out along with A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham, and Piecing it all together by Leslie GouldMums and Mayhem by Amanda Flower publishes on August 11 as well as Peachy Scream by Anna Gerard (I will feature on August 12 as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour).  Which book do you wish to read first?
Like most other colleges across the country, Newbury College, a small, private liberal-arts school in Brookline, Massachusetts, held classes through the end of this past spring semester and then bid farewell to cap-and-gown-wearing seniors. But unlike almost every other college, those classes, and that farewell were the school’s last: Newbury officially ceased operations at the end of May. What It’s Like When Your College Shuts Down - The Atlantic  
Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell has Professor Lauren Rousseau, a linguistics professor at Agawam College, finding her star student, Jamal Carter dead.  Lauren is baffled by Jamal’s death.  When the police do not seem to be making headway, Lauren becomes determined to get answers.  Lauren had seen Jamal arguing with Alexa Kingston, the head of the linguistics department, and the woman had been acting odd as of late.  Elise Chase, a friend of Lauren’s and Jamal’s, is behaving squirrelly.  Lauren becomes worried about Elise when she is unable to find her.  Lauren befriends recluse Samuel Pulcifer who owns the local boat shop.  On her way home one evening, Lauren notices smoke in the air.  The old boat shop is in flames and no one knows if Samuel made it out of the blaze alive.  Lauren has been asking questions about Jamal trying to learn more about him.  She arrives home after locating a man who was seen having a loud disagreement with Jamal to find the office in her condo has been ransacked and her dog is missing.  Lauren wonders if they were searching for Jamal’s thesis which he gave her before dying.  She hopes it will provide some clues as to why Jamal was murdered.  Lauren wants answers and she is going to get them.
Outdoor Crime Scene Decor - Police tape
Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell was originally published in 2012 using the pseudonym Tace Baker.  Lauren Rousseau is a linguistics professor at Agawam College.  She lives in a condo with her dog, Wulu, a cockapoo.  Lauren has recently obtained tenure along with her colleague and friend, Ralph Fourakis.  She has been dating Zac Agnant, a Haitian American videographer.  Lauren is Jamal Carter’s faculty advisor for his thesis which has her approval, but it has it a roadblock with department chair, Alexa Kingston.  Lauren finds Jamal dead on campus one evening.  She does not know why anyone would kill her top student, so Lauren sets out to learn more about Jamal.  The mystery was multifaceted.  There is the death of Jamal, the fire at the boat shop, a missing friend, break in at Lauren’s condo, and Lauren’s dog is taken.  I liked all the action which kept the story moving forward.  The whodunit was interesting with a variety of suspects and misdirection to throw off readers.  While I liked that aspect of Speaking of Murder, I was not a fan of Lauren Rousseau.  The book begins with her sleeping with her star pupil.  Lauren did not find this wrong nor the aspect that she was cheating on her boyfriend, Zac.  There was too much focus on Lauren’s love life.  I was baffled as to why Zac stayed with Lauren.  She is unable to make a commitment, rude to the man, judgmental, and cheats on him.  Lauren did not hesitate, though, to call him when she did not want to be alone (or when she wanted to do the horizontal hula).  I did not understand Lauren’s dogged persistence in searching for a friend who did not want to be found especially if your life is in danger.  I wish the main character had been Officer Natalia Flores (I liked her). In addition to frequent mentions of jiggy jiggy, the book contains foul language.  I was disappointed that I was left with unanswered questions at the end.  I wish there had been a better wrap up of the various storylines.  There were also inconsistencies.  Lauren’s life is in danger, so she makes sure to lock doors and windows.  She even tells Officer Flores when she is going off to visit her aunt.  But then she goes off jogging alone at night or walking across campus on her own in the dark.  While I enjoy Edith Maxwell’s other cozy mysteries, Speaking of Murder was a miss for me.  Speaking of Murder has an intriguing mystery with an unaccounted for chum, a slain student, a poached pooch, a blazing boat shop, a dubious department head, and a persistent professor.  
Coastal Living House on Fire
Speaking of Murder is available from Amazon*.  The next A Lauren Rousseau Mystery is Murder on the Bluffs (originally titled Bluffing is Murder) which comes out on August 11.  You can find Edith Maxwell's other cozy mysteries here (which are fun to read).  She also writes under the non de plume Maddie Day for A Country Store Mystery series and her newest series A Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series which begins with Murder on Cape Cod (digital version currently $1.99 on Amazon--check price before purchasing because prices change without notice).  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am reviewing The Amish School Teacher by Jerry Eicher.  I hope you have an upbeat day.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
pintor norteamericano DAVID HETTINGER.
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