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Plotting at the PTA (Obsidian Mystery) Kindle Edition

14 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

The One I Was
The One I Was by Eliza Graham
A beautiful and haunting tale of friendship, redemption and forgiveness across generations. Learn more

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More About the Author

Laura Alden grew up in Michigan and graduated from college in the 80's with a (mostly unused) degree in geology. She turned to writing in the late nineties. After a number of years in management, she felt the need to move on and took a job with fewer responsibilities. A month later, she was dead bored and began to consider writing as a way to wake up her brain. She started reading a lot of books on writing and happened across a particular sentence: "What's it going to be, reasons or results?"

The phrase practically stuck her in the eye. She printed it out, framed it, and put it next to her computer. "Reasons or results?" At the end of her life, was she going to have a pile of reasons for not having done anything? Or was she going to sit down and write a book? Once she started looking at it that way, the decision was easy. A short 13 years later, her first book was published.

Currently, Laura and her husband share their house with two very strange cats. When Laura isn't writing, she's working at her day job, reading, attempting to keep the flowerbeds free of weeds, or doing some variety of skiing. Laura's debut novel, Murder at the PTA was an Agatha Award finalist for Best First Novel. Her fifth book, POISON AT THE PTA, will be released in February 2014.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CJ-MO VINE VOICE on August 9, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beth Kennedy takes a vacation from running her children's bookstore to spend time with her kids, but then has a full to-do list waiting for her when she returns. One overdue task is delivering books to customers that have placed special orders. However, when Beth arrives at the reclusive Amy Jacobson's house to deliver her books, she learns the young woman has died from an allergic reaction to bee stings. Beth is horrified and after asking around a little about Amy, she is surprised to discover a possible connection between Amy's death and a long ago tragedy. Beth goes to the police, but they consider both cases closed and definitely unrelated. That's when Beth uses the people skills she's gained from making it through the politically charged PTA meetings at her children's school to use in getting to the bottom of the two cases.

This light, cozy series is getting better with each book. Beth is starting to stand up for herself more, although she still lets some of the PTA officers, especially her nemesis Claudia Wolff, bully her at times. Beth can always depend on her best friend Marina whenever she needs help with a case or just needs a friend. Marina's loyalty is her best quality. Marina can sometimes be a little grating, but she has matured and encourages Beth to be more assertive. The quirky mother of four is a drama queen and may break out into a Southern, German, or some other accent at any time, but she always has Beth's best interests at heart, and Beth feels the same about Marina. At one point in the book, someone close to Beth criticizes Marina, and it is wonderful that the sometimes timid Beth doesn't hesitate to defend her best friend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Love on July 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Knowing her good friend and learning about her death, Beth suspects that there is more to her death, so Beth sets out to see if she can learn more surrounding the days before her friend's untimely death. Meanwhile one of the seniors, hearing about Beth's exploits in solving murders, wants her to investigate a 20-year old death. As Beth pursues both cases, her search for answers becomes more urgent.

This was a good read in this light-hearted and charming whodunit. The writing is crisp, the flow is evenly paced and I like the way the story progressed and kept me guessing as to how this drama would end. It's all about the relationship in this character-driven tale and I especially love the comedic tone that is found throughout this story. Beth is a great character and her relationships and concerns with her friends and family makes her a good sleuth. This was very enjoyable and I look forward to the next book in this wonderful series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Herring on October 22, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beth Kennedy is getting pushed around again, this time by an ornery senior citizen. Added to the usual troubles she faces: growing kids, a contentious PTA board, and her goofy friend Marina's machinations, it's pushing her to the limit. Then a customer she liked is found dead in her own back yard, and Beth has more stress than anyone should have to handle.
Alden's books are peopled with characters we could almost swear we know. Beth is the quintessential modern woman, running a business, working to improve her town, raising children, and all the while worried that she isn't doing any of them well enough. Small town interaction rings true in every story, and Alden has a gift for turning a humorous phrase that exactly captures a mother's angst or the frustration of a woman whose patience is waning.
I've enjoyed the PTA series very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 3, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Rynwood, Wisconsin, single mother of two children, Beth Kennedy serves as the Tarver Elementary PTA secretary and owns the Children's Bookshelf. Beth provides a special delivery service to customers who cannot get to her store. She delivers an order to Amy Jacobson only to learn the acrophobic recluse died from anaphylaxis shock due to bee stings. Stunned as Amy never went out in daylight, Beth is further worried as her customer was found by the neighbor's dog holding a can of bee spray.

Concerned about anomalies Beth visits the police Chief Gus Eisler with her theory but he thinks she has had some lucky success (see Foul Play At The PTA) so he blows her off insisting she is looking for a homicide when none exists. Still doubting the official cause of death, Beth is approached by Maude, a resident at the Sunny Roof Assisted Living Center, to look into the "accidental" drowning death of her niece Kelly decades ago. Most of the townsfolk believe she committed suicide. Maude and Kelly's mom think she was murdered by her longtime boyfriend who dumped her. Beth assumes there was no homicide until she learns Kelly and Amy were best friends. As she goes around Rynwood seeking clues, a vigillant killer watches her closely just in case she gets too close to the truth.

The latest PTA amateur sleuth (see Murder At The PTA) is an engaging whodunit as the heroine knows her customers so well she finds deviations in the "behavior" of Amy leading to her death. The heroine treats her two cases as separate inquiries until she finds the surprising link between the deaths. Fans will enjoy Laura Alden's complex murder mystery thankfully without a recall in sight.

Harriet Klausner
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