by Julie Mulhern
If you are part of the Country Club set in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1970’s, certain things are expected of you—the right clothes, the right committees, and the right friends. In Ellison Russell’s case, expectations are that she will find yet another dead body. Ellison really doesn’t want to be involved in murder investigations. She wants a simple life with her teenage daughter Grace, her art work, her country club friends, and her blossoming romance with Detective Anarchy Jones. Between being in the wrong place at the wrong time and having friends who expect her to help when they have a crisis (especially of the criminal type), Ellison’s life is anything but simple and uncomplicated.
When she discovers her investment advisor murdered in a compromising position and in an office where secretaries are treated like sex objects, Ellison is drawn into an investigation in which this is just the first of several crimes to be discovered. As always in the Country Club Murder series, Back Stabbers is set in shades of harvest gold and avocado with shag rugs making an appearance. Mr. Coffee with his liquid ambrosia makes multiple appearances.
Ellison’s half-sister Karma (from the “wrong side of the blankets”) pays a visit to meet her sister, and they have more in common than they would have thought. Lots of other interesting characters populate this book. The plot has humor, multiple threads, and a surprise ending. Fans of Julie Mulhern’s cozy mysteries will not be disappointed.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #8 in the Country Club Murders. It will work as a standalone, but is perhaps more enjoyable with nuances provided by more background.
2. A minor criticism for one of my favorite cozy mystery writers: the humorous Mr. Coffee references were overdone in this book. I’m not suggesting they be deleted entirely, just that there should be fewer of them.
Publication: October 23, 2018—Henery Press
The squirrels stopped their chittering and stared at me. A robin leveled a most serious gaze my way. The other birds (there were many) silenced their tweeting. It was as if I was Snow White, the envelope was a poisoned apple, and the park animals were telling me not to bite.
If Mr. Coffee had a fault, it was that he couldn’t steam milk. Not that I’d ever tell him such a thing. I wouldn’t hurt his feelings for all the steamed milk in the world.
“Daddy, this is a really bad idea.” It was an epically terrible, bring-about-the-apocalypse bad idea. Rivers would run backward. The locusts would descend. Mother’s face would melt.