Once Upon A Romance

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Foul Play at the PTA by Laura Alden

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Cover art: Foul Play at the PTA Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Foul Play at the PTA - 2nd in the Beth Kennedy Mystery series
Author: Laura Alden
Publisher: Obsidian
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-23408-7
Release Date: July 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present Day Rynwood, Wisconsin
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Laura's Website/Blog: www.lauraalden.com


Beth Kennedy is a single, working mom who is also the PTA Secretary and local children’s bookshop owner. If that’s not enough to keep her busy, everyone in the town seems to think she is also the resident murder solver. Just because some lunatic had threatened your kids and you reacted like a mama bear and get him put away for murder, people think you are the new Sherlock Holmes. So when PTA member Sam Helmstetter is strangled in his car after a PTA meeting, Beth and her best friend Marina worry about who the killer in their midst might be.

Beth wants to leave this murder alone. One round of threatened kids was enough for her…but when rumors spread that Beth’s newest hire is a convicted killer and obviously the one who killed Sam, Beth decides to poke her nose into Sam’s murder a little bit to see what she can find out. But as most things go, if you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound and Beth finds herself chasing after murderers again. And if he strangled Sam, is there anything that will stop the killer from coming after Beth, too?

I had the pleasure of reading Beth’s first crime adventure. While this second book does stand alone, it does bring back familiar people and places from the first book. I think new readers to the series will have no trouble understanding what happened in the past while getting up to speed on the present. Previous readers will appreciate some of the information given in the back story that will help you once again familiarize yourself with Beth, the Tarver Elementary PTA and the rest of the folks in Rynwood.

Beth is not your every day super hero. She is really quite unassuming and would rather be at home with her kids than running off to meetings and on murder investigations. Her best friend, Marina, forces her out of her shell from time to time, but overall, Beth is a homebody and happy to be one. She is finally starting to move on after her divorce and has a boyfriend of sorts. He is willing to take it slow and let the kids acclimate to him before he really moves forward with their relationship.

I loved the way Beth was determined not to let the rumors about her new employee, Yvonne, force Yvonne into quitting. Since Yvonne is the best worker Beth has found in years, she’s willing to hunt down a killer in order to save Yvonne further embarrassment and keep her as an employee. Beth is a great example of a nice Wisconsin woman. She exemplifies many of the good traits you hear about people from Wisconsin. She is kind and caring and will take care of her own—including her employees—if they are at all threatened. Beth is the kind of person I’d like to go sit down and have a cup of coffee and some conversation with. While I know Beth is determined to not get into any more murder investigations, I have a feeling we will be meeting up with her again.

Robyn

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