With school now in session (I hear a lot of collective sighs from parents everywhere) and a regular routine’s established once more I thought I’d take a chance and read Murder at the PTA by Laura Alden.
One of the reasons I chose this novel was it invoked my elementary school days and whenever I hear PTA I’m always taken back to a much simpler time. However, this mystery doesn’t even get a passing grade.
As the story goes, the school year has just started and Beth Kennedy (a recently divorced mother or two) is prodded into running for the open Secretary position at her children’s elementary school by best friend Marina. Of course the children’s bookstore owner is a shoe in for the position and during the first meeting the school’s principal, Agnes Mephisto, waltzes in to declare that there will be construction of a new wing to the Tarver Elementary School.
The town goes crazy over the news and soon Agnes is found murdered in her home which is across the street from Marina (and who ultimately writes a blog called WisconSINS- since the book takes place in Wisconsin). Since no one knows the identity of the blogger it’s safe to put your suspects all in a row along with tidbits of gossip on local residents.
So, anyway, Marina starts to get threatening emails and between her and Beth they try to solve the crime. And let me tell you there’s just toooooo many characters in this book to keep up with. In fact, I think when Beth has a Halloween party at the bookstore it’s mentioned later on that she’s still preparing for it.
The story is long and drawn out and all of the characters are rather boring. By the time the entire town was introduced (along with Agnes’ sister) I could have cared less who killed her. The pace is very slow and in order to have a successful mystery you have to have something exciting happen within the first 10 pages.
Over the course of reviewing many mysteries the formula here does not work (nor does the ending for that matter) and this is supposed to be the first in a new mystery line. I’m hoping that if it is Alden’s next book is more exciting and entertaining. As I read each page I turned it into a game thinking how many more days were left in this bad school year.