The Codebook Murders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

This is the 4th book in the Oakwood Mystery series.  I really enjoyed this book.  I've read the other books in the series and enjoyed them as well.  Leslie Nagle has an enjoyable writing style that makes the book easy to read, her plots are interesting and her characters are well-drawn.

In this book, Charley discovers an old journal while escaping a tornado.  It looks like a teenager's journal, and upon investigation turns out to belong to a murder victim.  The identity of the murderer is actually still a little unclear and the journal is in code.  After Charley and her band of friends break it, they find this cold case is still very hot.

I highly recommend this book.  Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Alibi and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Charley Carpenter runs a vintage clothing shop, but frequently turns detective when a mystery presents itself.  Driving home to get ready for the first Oakwood Mystery Book Club meeting, Charley has to abandon her car when she is caught in the path of a tornado.  escaping to safety through an underground tunnel at the high school, Charley discovers a backpack with a journal that is coded.  After researching the code, she and one of the current high school students,PJ, who is a math wiz, determine that the journal belonged to Regan Fletcher , a young girl murdered 40 years ago after the Homecoming Football game.  Her boyfriend had been convicted (while protesting his innocence) and a felon later confessed and recanted.  Her boyfriend was never really freed from the suspicion of her murder.  Charley and PJ continue to work on the coded journal and eventually figure out what was really going on 40 years before.

I found this mystery to be extremely entertaining, maybe because I was in high school in the 70's or maybe because of the interesting way the story was presented,  Using technology that hadn't been available 40 years before.  Sometimes the mix of old and new doesn't work, but this did.
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So I enjoy books by this author. I liked this book. I would recommend it to others who are looking for a quick, light read.
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A convoluted and clever murder mystery. A cold case becomes extremely hot for all involved. The usual group of characters from the previous books in the series, along with several new ones. I started this book and then forgot about it. When I picked it up again I wondered how could I have ever stopped reading it.
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught!
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Another great book in the series.  I wondered if it would be as good as the previous one in the series, it was.  Though, I think the 3rd one is still my favorite so far.  This one kept me guessing until the end.  All the characters are great and it moves at a nice pace.  Looking forward to the next in the series!
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Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
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This is the 4th book in the popular "Oakwood Mystery Series." I have read the entire series and recommend it highly. Each book has a enjoyable mystery and likable charcters.  
Thank you for the ARC for review.  My opinion is my own. 
In this next in series our protagonist  Charley is busy running her vintage clothing shop when she is  in a tornado . After the tornado she finds a mysterious diary  written  in code from the 1970's that appears to have belonged to a young girl who was murdered .  Charley decides to investigate and finds out that the suspect was never caught.  The mystery deepens when she finds that those she questions about the girl do not want to talk.  She decides to involve her mystery club and they all begin a investigation.  Soon a murder occurs that draw them in to a second mystery to solve. 
 I enjoy the small town true to life deception where people hid secrets and do not always tell the truth.  The mystery was very well layered and kept me guessing.
This is a enjoyable well crafted cozy series that I highly recommend.
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A tornado passes through Oakwood. It knocks out the power and provides a new mystery for Charley to investigate. In an underground tunnel, she finds an old journal. The journal belongs to a girl that was murdered in 1979. The journal is in code and some of the teens that help Charley work on decoding the journal. 
The house is ransacked and a new murder occurs, so Charley knows the murderer is alive and afraid of being exposed.
I enjoyed all the detecting. In addition to Charley's gay friend, lesbian interactions become part of the cold case. So be aware if you are very conservative.
This is the fourth book in the series. Each has gotten better as ithe series goes along.
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“ The Codebook Murders” is the fourth book in the Oakwood Mystery series by Leslie Nagel. Let me preface this by saying that this was my first time reading anything by this author. I enjoy the fact that this each book seems to have a new mystery to solve and can be read as a standalone. However, I did find myself wanting a little more background info and such, which was no fault of the author, but I do recommend starting with book one, The Book Club Murders. 
    This story began with action. There were lots of twists and turns throughout. I thought I had everything figured out but alas, I did not! I cannot wait to read this series in its entirety. I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future

* I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
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I loved this story very much, I love the mystery books that talk about books, if they are by Agatha Christie even more.
During a tornado, Charley finds a diary that belonged to a girl who died in the 70s and the culprit was never found. With the help of her mystery club she will try to solve this complicated case. Provided she is able to codify the diary which is written in code and to overcome the reticence of the people to whom they ask for information. Meanwhile there is a murder and a kidnapping.
Charley runs a vintage clothes shop. She is part of a mystery club born as a reading club and then became a real investigative group. She is a strong woman, stubborn, generous, intelligent, with great intuition to solve mysteries. All members of the club are funny and bizarre. I also loved the atmosphere of this small town, where everyone knows each other, full of secrets, gossip.
It's the fourth book in the series, each book may be enjoyed as a stand alone novel but for more enjoyment read the whole series
It's an intriguing and interesting book with a great pace, full of twists difficult to guess the ending.
Highly recommended
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The Codebook Murders by Leslie Negel is the 4th book in the Oakwood Mystery series, and another great addition. I really enjoy this series. Charley Carpenter owns Old Hat Vintage Fashions in Oakwood, Ohio. Charley and a teenager are caught in a storm, when someone helps them into the safe under tunnel to the high school.  While in the dark, Charley finds an old back pack and a book, filled with codes.  The book seems to belong to a teenager who disappeared decades ago.  Determined to find out what really happened to her, Charley is determined to find the truth.  This book kept me reading page after page, and it had more twists and turns as we figured things out along with Charley.  I strongly recommend this book and series.

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
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New author to me and I am hooked.  This book pulled me in and kept me guessing til the end.  Writing is great and the characters are great to get to know and see evolve.  

Charley found an old book and is determined to decode it and find the killer of a murder that happened in the past.
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Oakwood, Ohio has had its calm disturbed by a large tornado. Charley is almost trapped in a tunnel until she and Katie are rescued by the high school janitor. While leaving the tunnel Charley trips and finds a backpack with a journal. The journal is tied to a 40-year-old murder of a local student, Rachel Fletcher. However, the journal is in code.  Can Charley and her team solve the code and then discover the old murdered?

This is the first book in the series I’ve read. I really enjoyed the mystery and the characters.
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I love a good cozy murder mystery, unfortunately I was disappointed by the quality of this one and struggled to finish it. 
The story opens with a storm – clearly used as a mean to kick off the mystery. Even though it comes back throughout the story, the storm really doesn't serve any other purpose, which, in my opinion, felt like a missed opportunity to add spookiness to the action. 
The mystery was interesting at first, I was really excited to decipher the code alongside the main character. However, it dragged on and the more I read, the more indifferent I felt to figuring out the mystery. The ending was okay, I guess, but not really satisfactory. I really did not like Regan’s character arc (the murder victim) nor the janitor’s - I thought their storyline was quite problematic to say the least. Charley (main character) was kind of irritating to me; her thoughts were a bit all over the place and often nonsensical. Moreover, I found it highly irresponsible of her to give dangerous tasks to teenagers (that she could do with them) and then to barely worry when they don’t answer their phones… that’s weird… oh well… like, what?! No, GO investigate why they don’t answer for Pete’s sake! They have an important piece of the puzzle and have been very careless with that, shouting it to the world. Oh and there’s a MURDERER on the loose!!! Unbelievable.

Also, there were just too many unnecessary characters. I understand having a mystery solving club sounds exciting and all, but it was poorly executed here. A lot of the characters were not written with much depth to them, very one-dimensional... I didn’t see the point for all their side stories – it was more boring than entertaining to me.

I think the biggest thing that hindered my enjoyment of this book was that I didn’t connect with the writing style at all. It felt very blunt; everything was explained as if we could not figure it out on our own… although, we did have unfinished thoughts a couple of times, but were more annoying than intriguing. 

•	Although this is the 4th book in the Oakwood Mystery series, you don't need to have read the previous ones before thanks to the background info given, which was great. 
•	I really liked the promise of a rainy, stormy mystery that embodies the perfect cozy mystery atmosphere to me.
•	There was a good amount of red herrings
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The Codebook Murders by Leslie Nagel is the  fourth  installment of the cozy Oakwood Mystery series. Each book in the series is a new case to be solved so while the characters have carried over from book to book it would be possible to read any as a standalone if choosing to do so. There would however be a bit of character building left out as their lives have progressed from book to book.

This series has introduced readers to the author’s own small hometown of Oakwood, Ohio although while the city is real her characters and murder mysteries are not. The main character of the story, Charley Carpenter, owns Old Hat Vintage Fashions, a clothing store selling gently used antique fashions and has a knack for stumbling upon crimes.

The Codebook Murders begins with Charley racing the weather while trying to avoid a speeding ticket while heading home where she will be hosting a meeting of her Oakwood Mystery Club. As the weather worsens Charley and a teen she’d offered a ride to find themselves needing shelter from a tornado when a man shuttles them quickly inside into some underground tunnels as the tornado strikes and wouldn’t you know Charley finds a clue to an old unsolved cold case.

Having read all the books of the Oakwood Mystery series it’s always fun to rejoin the characters each time on  their new adventure. Charley is a strong and determined female lead character that I’ve found very likable and she is dating a police detective so that gives her opportunities to further her own investigating. There are plenty of twists to keep engaged in the story throughout while trying to figure out just why the murder had taken place. Will look forward to any additional books added to this series to see just what Charley gets herself involved in next.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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A tornado forces Charley Carpenter and her friend to take refuge in a tunnel underneath the high school with the school janitor when she discovers an old backpack with a book written in code. Turns out the back pack and book belonged to Regan Fletcher, a vivacious high school senior murdered 40 years ago. As Charley becomes involved trying to break the code, a series of burglaries take place leading to another murder. In this entertaining cozy, Charley and friends are fascinated by the Nancy Drew books and many allusions to them are used to good effect. Series just keeps getting better!
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The Codebook Murders
Oakwood Mysteries, Book #4
Leslie Nagel
5 Stars


Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Todaybestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.
Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder. 
Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her sleuthing partner, Charley must dig deeper still into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.
Leslie Nagel’s delightful Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately:


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Charley and her family and friends all have great relationships and you can tell how much they care about each other.  Charley loves her dad, Bobby, so much and she worries about him a lot.  And the feeling is mutual.  They are each other’s biggest supporters.  Charley and her best friend, Frankie, are so funny and you never know what kind of trouble they are going to get in.  

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and this description pulled me into the story right from the beginning.  The first chapter was very realistic and very intense.  I felt like I was right there with Charley in the tunnel, worrying about what was going on outside of it.  The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read.    

The mystery was well developed and nicely paced, and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider.  I was very surprised to find out who the culprit was, and I like when that happens.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  I am already looking forward to reading the next book.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Random House Publishing Group-Alibi, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate
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This is the fourth edition   in The Oakwood Series of mystery books. It works well as a standalone.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the codebook angle. I have not come across this idea in a mystery series before now, and I thought it was a clever idea.  I also enjoyed the plot and the characters; however, there were a few things I didn't like:

The book seemed to really drag in the beginning, and because of that, it took me longer than usual to finish reading it.  While I often enjoy reading on weekend afternoons after  the things I need to do are taken care of, I found that I was slogging through  the relationship stuff, and I was bored. There wasn't much action.  Which brings me to my other complaint: the main character,  Charley, has a boyfriend, Marc,  who is fixing up the house next door to her father  for them to live in together. While there weren't any graphic sex scenes, there is sexual innuendo, an instance of Charley leading Marc  to the bedroom, removing each other's clothing, talk about sex,  and things like that in the book. I know, because I am often asked about the presence of this kind of thing that I'm not the only one who would like to see the cozy mysteries remain free of it. If authors want to throw in scenes like this, they should write for another market.

Overall, the book was okay, and the mystery was neatly wrapped up in the end.
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A murder from Oakwood’s history resurfaces during a terrifying storm, and brings new clues and dead bodies in it’s wake! This is the third book from the Oakwood mystery series that I’ve read and it is the fourth in the series. It is a bit different than the others, but just as fun. I love seeing Charley back on my kindle—she is a delight to read about! And this one has that great mix of cold case and current case that was so intriguing. I definitely recommend The Codebook Murders by Leslie Nagel to all cozy mystery lovers!

Charley Carpenter is forced underground—literally—when a tornado hits the town of Oakwood and she finds herself in the tunnels under the local high school. While down there, she discovers a backpack with a strange journal in it—covered in sunflowers and filled with coded entries. The journal is linked to a local cold case, the murder of Regan Fletcher has haunted Oakwood for decades and this journal is quite clearly Regan’s, hidden the night she was murdered.

Though Regan’s boyfriend Carter was originally convicted of the crime, another man’s confession freed him. Only it becomes clear that man didn’t kill Regan either… But who did? Was it really Carter after all? Or did a murder walk free all of those decades? Charley takes on the case with the members of the Oakwood Mystery Book Club and a few local teens. But the more they uncode of Regan’s diary, the more troubling the young woman’s story becomes… What was Regan up to that led to her death?

As the dead bodies begin to pile up, Charley and her friends feel even more urgency to solve the case and prevent the murderer from taking any more lives. But what if the truth is already lost forever?

These Leslie Nagel books are so much fun! I think she is one of the better cozy mystery authors at not letting the mystery get lost in the cozy town and character development as so many authors do. We learn a bit more about Charley and her friends’ lives, but it truly all is backseat to the mystery at hand. She’s also great about not spoiling the other books, so you can truly jump in at any point!

Charley is so SPUNKY and fun, just as I remember her from the other books. She pulls some pretty gutsy moves in this one, including finding a way to trick herself entrance into a suspects’ house (I won’t spoil the how but I got a great laugh out of her hijinks) and setting a social media trap for a thief! I really adore Charley and her friends and family. We saw a bit less of her father, vintage shop, and boyfriend in this book, but more of the high school sleuths and her book club friends. 

Leslie Nagel always provides that nice balance where we learn more about the town in each book. This one focuses heavily on the high school and the students, past and present. We also got to know a few of Charley’s former teachers!

A fun mystery with a historical throwback and a coded journal that will delight readers! Thank you to Random House for my copy. Opinions are my own.
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