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Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Karen Cantwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“This fun if light novel’s quippy, hilarious narrator, Barbara Marr, has so much warmth and genuine gumption, you’d certainly want her on your criminal investigative team.” – Publishers Weekly

Semi-Finalist, 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
"Barbara Marr is...perhaps the most hilarious amateur sleuth in literature....Cantwell handles her characters with flair and pizazz...blending page-turning action with those little tender moments that get you right in the gut..."

Book 1 in the bestselling Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series

Film lover Barbara Marr is a typical suburban mom living the typical suburban life in her sleepy little town of Rustic Woods, Virginia. Typical, that is until she sets out to find the missing link between a bizarre monkey sighting in her yard and the bone chilling middle-of-the-night fright fest at the strangely vacant house next door. When Barb talks her two friends into some seemingly innocent Charlie’s Angels-like sleuthing, they stumble upon way more than they bargained for and uncover a piece of neighborhood history that certain people would kill to keep on the cutting room floor.

237 pages of laugh-out-loud fun.

“The story is fast-paced, fun and with quite a few twists all rolled into one cute adventure.” – Socrate’s Book Reviews

“It was just plain fun to read.” Red Adept Reviews

"Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell could easily become one of my favorite books of all time." -- Syria Says

“If you like a good mystery but want a refreshing new take with a bit of light fare, enough to make you laugh out loud, then Karen Cantwell's Take the Monkeys and Run will take you there.” Reviewed by Lee Libro at Literary Magic
Books in the series: Take the Monkeys and Run (#1), Citizen Insane (#2), Silenced by the Yams (#3), Saturday Night Cleaver (#4)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karen Cantwell lives in the wild and crazy suburbs of Northern Virginia. She has no hobbies, she can't cook or sew, she's terrible at crossword puzzles, and she can kill a houseplant in a week without breaking a sweat. Luckily, Karen can string a few words together and has a knack for making people laugh, so she chose to write humorous mysteries for a living. The Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, Take the Monkeys and Run, is her first novel, and she's thankful that people enjoyed it enough to warrant writing a second. Karen loves to hear from readers. Visit for her email address and to learn about all of her books and stories.

Product Details

  • File Size: 511 KB
  • Print Length: 198 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003SE7O40
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, implausible, but believable - with monkeys August 17, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A soccer mom with three children and a just-moved-out spouse discovers monkeys in her yard, a head in unpleasant condition in the house next door, and more excitement that a soccer mom in a pleasant neighborhood should expect. There's an ex-boyfriend PI, a policeman who looks like Brad Pitt, and a really obnoxious mother. Oh, and the mafia might be involved. And somehow, it kind of makes sense.

This was very entertaining and a quick read. I really liked Barb, and I hope to read more about her and her adventures.
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soccer Mom Goes Sleuthing June 23, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
In this funny, touching, improbable escapade in the burbs, heroine and movie buff Barbara Marr faces life's mishaps and mysteries with pluck and wit. She's not a gal to be undone by a few setbacks -- her husband has just walked out of their marriage, her mother keeps popping in unannounced, and oh yes, there's a severed head in the abandoned house next door, not to mention monkeys on the loose in the trees. It's enough to make the ordinary soccer mom want to run and hide but not this heroine. And that's what makes this first book by Karen Cantwell such a treat. She's given readers a story that shows how any woman can rise to any occasion and overcome just about any challenge. Bravo! I enjoyed every minute & recommend it with enthusiasm.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FUN, and funny June 22, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great little mystery with high hilarity. Yes, there are a number of improbable scenes, a couple that are Impossible-Over-The-Top, but it's all in good fun and keeps the pages turning. It was nice to read about a 45 year-old-heroine who had a lot of life and love left in her, with perhaps too great a sense of adventure and not enough sense to stay out of trouble. Karen Cantwell takes soccer mom to a whole new level. I really enjoyed the romantic aspects of this novel; they fit in seamlessly and were as much a mystery as the mystery! If you need an escape or a great beach read, this might very well be it. Highly recommended!
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really that funny. January 2, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read the reviews here and almost all of them say improbable, over the top etc. Since Janet Evanovich came out with Stephanie Plum we have been hit with a plethora of women getting involved with crime and blindly rushing into trouble no matter who they put in danger. The first few Plum novels were funny. After a while they became redundant. How many times can your apartment, car etc. get blown up and your gun toting Grandma get you in trouble at funeral homes? Now we have Barbara Marr. A fleece wearing suburban housewife with 3 kids. Married 17 years to the same man, she has no clue what the man does for a living!!!!!!!!!! Stumbling around in the middle of the night without a coat or shoes to see what is happening at the abandoned house next door. Since her husband left there is no one in the house with the 3 kids. Okay!!! What is wrong with this picture? As things go from bad to worse, she again leaves her kids in a hotel room and blindly rushes off to chase bad guys. How is this funny? She comes off as sarcastic and stupid at the times she should be trying to fix the mess she made. Then in the middle of a gun battle she zones out and starts thinking about how sexy her husband is instead of trying to look for a way out of the trouble. I'm sorry, I did not laugh out loud even once. All I could think of was there are several more books about this idiot. If you are looking for one more book in the overkill of books about stupid women doing stupid things, then this is the series for you.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 3, 2011
By Peri
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book had some potential and I think the author has some writing talent (not always present in current "idiot female detectives who won't share any information" books), but the plot was very thin, obviously linked to "True Lies" with the gorgeous man, etc., and a second half of the book almost all revolving around a completely ludicrous mafia tale. Ay yi yi. I was hoping for so much more. She had a catchy and quick beginning - I would like to see her dump this unattractive, self-centered and stupid heroine, and try a newer type of character. I also join those who don't see why the obscenities were there - not needed in this book (though sometimes they fit the plot).
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So 'light', it practically floats away. September 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a quick, light read, this book is a good candidate.

Personally, I like cozy mysteries where the protagonist actually shows some intelligence. The heroine of this book does not qualify. She doesn't 'solve' anything, she simply stumbles into the answers. She actually has no idea of what's going on until the 'evil villain' captures her and - surprise!! - lays out the whole nefarious plot.

The fact that she's been married for 17 years and doesn't even know what her husband does for a living strains credulity a bit too far.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars take the monkeys and run March 23, 2012
By SueE
Format:Kindle Edition
The story starts out ok. It's An easy read and I liked the characters. However if you love your cat or other animals do not buy this book. less than half way through the book and 4 animals are dead and another was nearly killed by drowning. I quit at this point. I don't know how many more die.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Comedic Mystery September 27, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery). Barbara Marr is an average suburban soccer mom with three kids and a husband who has decided he "needs space". When five monkeys show up in the trees in Barbara's back yard, she decides to find out how they got there. When she makes a gruesome discovery in the basement of the vacant house next door, things really get interesting.

Karen Cantwell's novel is one of the best comedic mysteries I've read. Her writing is flawless and her heroine is quirky and endearing. I'm really looking forward to another Barbara Marr mystery.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 10 minutes ago by Laurie Casseday
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fun light reading book.
Published 44 minutes ago by J R Pelayo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Fun story, good mystery and had a few laughs. Can't wait for another book by this author.
Published 2 hours ago by Doodlemom
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comic Mystery That's Actually Funny
A great, fun read. It takes a willing suspension of disbelief to appreciate, but that's what fiction is all about. I highly recommend this book.
Published 2 hours ago by Mary King
5.0 out of 5 stars much fun
loved it--lots of laughs and hard to quit reading!
Published 3 hours ago by Neva Mathes
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited Story With Good Looking Males
Great read, very peculiar situations but plausible. Just enough believable fantasy to be very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Published 12 hours ago by Danielle
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked
Very funny and easy to read although a bit convoluted fun nonetheless. I enjoyed it a lot and would read more of these books.
Published 14 hours ago by Emily Horne
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the book
Although the actions were a bit improbable, I loved the book. The main character was totally relate able and hysterical. The supporting characters were charming and funny. Read more
Published 18 hours ago by ginga
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED this book
I LOVED this book. Read it in one afternoon because I couldn't put it down. Did not see the ending coming!
Published 20 hours ago by Sharon Marchant
4.0 out of 5 stars Yup
I enjoyed this book. Simple, fun and engaging. It's written for entertainment and I was entertained.
Published 22 hours ago by dislike
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More About the Author


I'm so glad and honored that you have visited my author page.

I have been writing plays and short stories for many years, some of which are published in short story collections.

My first novel, TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN, is a comedy-mystery, inspired, to some degree by a true monkey sighting in my own neighborhood. Because I love to laugh as well as make other people laugh, I have great fun writing the characters Barbara Marr, her friends and her adversaries. When I set out to write this book, I knew I wanted to write something that readers would say, "Now that was FUN." I HOPE I have achieved that goal. And if I did, please feel free to drop me a line at and let me know! I love to hear from readers. (especially if they LIKE the book!)

Books in the Barbara Marr series are: TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN (#1), CITIZEN INSANE (#2), AND SILENCED BY THE YAMS (#3), and SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER (#4). The fifth book, DEAD MAN STALKING, will be released September of 2014. You can also enjoy a Barbara Marr short story collection, THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA, as well two holiday short stories, IT'S A DUNDER-BULL WIFE and BJORN!ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. All are available on Amazon for Kindle.

Again, thank you for stopping by!


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