Saturday, 20 March 2010

Murder 101

Title: Murder 101
Author: Maggie Barbieri
Genre: Mystery, Humour, Romance
Pages: 298
Quick Review: Loved it!
First Line: "Your ass looks great in that dress."
Series: First book in the Murder 101 Mystery series

Synopsis: Alison Bergeron is an English professor at St Thomas, a Catholic college just outside New York city limits. Alison considers herself "Queen of the Nerds" -- in her thirties, 5 foot 10 inches tall, an intelligent woman who is also clumsy and often finds herself saying whatever inappropriate comment pops into her head, faints, cries or pukes when under stress ... she may be right about her self-imposed title.

Alison's life is anything but quiet -- dealing with her recent divorce from her philandering husband, Ray, to having her car stolen are just the tip of the iceberg. One evening she gets a visit from two NYC detectives who tell her that a student, Kathy Miceli, has been found dead in Alison's car. To add fuel to the fire, Kathy's family has mob connections.

Suddenly Alison finds herself as the main suspect in the murder. Alison decides to take matters into her own hands in order to clear her name ... which leads to tension between her and Detective Crawford.

My Thoughts: I had picked up this book at the library based on the book cover and title alone. I'm very glad I did. This debut book by Barbieri was a really good read that has a great blend of romance, humour and some suspense.

Barbieri was able to have a main character that is smart and a regular sort of girl who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many main female characters seem to be made from the same cookie cutter ... but not Alison. She's a quirky gal complete with real emotions and doesn't see herself as 'anything special'. She's just a woman trying to get over her recently finalized divorce and have a normal life. The fact that Alison handles her stress by often vomitting, fainting or crying can get a little old at times but it can also be viewed as how some people would handle what Alison is facing (and it makes for some humourous situations).

Crawford is a regular sort of guy who isn't just a hunk with a nice face. The romance between them isn't over-the-top either but still happens at a nice pace. I loved the banter between Alison and Crawford and made me giggle out loud in several parts. Also, the romance between Alison and Crawford seemed very believable and I liked the fact that it wasn't rushed.

The one character I wasn't thrilled with was Max, Alison's best friend. Her character, to me, came off as more annoying and self-centred. I couldn't picture Alison being friends with a person liked Max.

Barbieri was able to finish the book with TWO cliffhangers that make me want to run out and read the next book in the series. While this book is labelled as a mystery I think that it's more of a funny romance with a splash of mystery thrown in. I'd love to see a bit more mystery in the next book ... which I'm definitely planning on reading.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Order of Series:

1. Murder 101

2. Extracurricular Activities

3. Quick Study

4. Final Exam

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