Cover Image: Speaking of Murder

Speaking of Murder

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I adored this clever mystery by the renowned writer Edith Maxwell. Originally publisher pseudonymously as "Tace Baker," "Speaking of Murder" is set in a New England college, where a student who seeks out linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau to be on his thesis committee is then found dead. Rousseau, a Quaker, feels compelled to try to solve her would-be student's murder and launches her own amateur investigation in the small New England town. In the process she uncovers some dark secrets, academic backstabbing, and so much more. Author Maxwell has created a phenomenally interesting character in Lauren Rousseau. I love the setting, I love that the protagonist is a professor and a Quaker--all of these unique qualities make "Speaking of Murder" time well spent. So glad to see this novel widely available and back in print!
Was this review helpful?
I really like this author, but Speaking of Murder is a huge no thank you for me.  At the very beginning college professor Lauren Rousseau is sleeping with a student.  He is later found dead.  Then she treats boyfriend Zac (who she cheated on at the very beginning) horribly for the audacity of asking her for a commitment.  I disliked Lauren with a passion.  This series will be a pass for me.  Thank you to Netgalley and Beyond the Page Publishing for the copy.  All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the beginning of A Lauren Rousseau Mystery series with Speaking of Murder. It was a pretty good read. Four stars.
Was this review helpful?
Murder mystery in small New England town. When a talented and clever student is murdered Lauren Rousseau, linguistics professor, investigates. Interesting mystery but with disturbing themes. It is extremely difficult to warm to the protagonist, Lauren, who is sadly unlikeable and certainly doesn’t treat people particularly well. Worth mentioning that this is no cosy mystery but rather a dark suspense with a well described, atmospheric setting.
Was this review helpful?
Princess Fuzzypants here:  Some books seem to hit their stride quickly whereas it takes time for others to click.  This book seems uncertain where the heroine and the story was going to go at first.  Once it did, however, it gained traction fast.  Lauren, a linguistics professor,, discovers the body of her best student on the campus.  Her secret relationship with him made me question her values at first.  It took a while for the story to tamp down any lingering doubts about her character.

There are a lot of moving parts in this book.  There is the murder and there is the testy relationship between the head of her department and Lauren and the head and the deceased.  The victim had some shady dealings in the past but now appears to have become almost angelic...or was it all a front.  There are kids who belong to the groups that the dead guy started to keep them off the streets.  There is a brother of the victim, a best friend of Lauren, two senior brothers who do not speak to each other  and a despicable creepy guy who seems to pop up everywhere.  All these parts are brought together to form a complex but fascinating story with an exciting conclusion.

Four purrs and two paws up.
Was this review helpful?
Search For A Killer....
Murder mystery in small New England town. When a talented and clever student is murdered Lauren Rousseau, linguistics professor, investigates. Interesting mystery but with disturbing themes. It is extremely difficult to warm to the protagonist, Lauren, who is sadly unlikeable and certainly doesn’t treat people particularly well. Worth mentioning that this is no cosy mystery but rather a dark suspense with a well described, atmospheric setting.
Was this review helpful?
Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell was originally published in 2012 using the pseudonym Tace Baker.  Lauren Rousseau is a linguistics professor at Agawam College.  She lives in a condo with her dog, Wulu, a cockapoo.  Lauren has recently obtained tenure along with her colleague and friend, Ralph Fourakis.  She has been dating Zac Agnant, a Haitian American videographer.  Lauren is Jamal Carter’s faculty advisor for his thesis which has her approval, but it has it a roadblock with department chair, Alexa Kingston.  Lauren finds Jamal dead on campus one evening.  She does not know why anyone would kill her top student, so Lauren sets out to learn more about Jamal.  The mystery was multifaceted.  There is the death of Jamal, the fire at the boat shop, a missing friend, break in at Lauren’s condo, and Lauren’s dog is taken.  I liked all the action which kept the story moving forward.  The whodunit was interesting with a variety of suspects and misdirection to throw off readers.  While I liked that aspect of Speaking of Murder, I was not a fan of Lauren Rousseau.  The book begins with her sleeping with her star pupil.  Lauren did not find this wrong nor the aspect that she was cheating on her boyfriend, Zac.  There was too much focus on Lauren’s love life.  I was baffled as to why Zac stayed with Lauren.  She is unable to make a commitment, rude to the man, judgmental, and cheats on him.  Lauren did not hesitate, though, to call him when she did not want to be alone (or when she wanted to do the horizontal hula).  I did not understand Lauren’s dogged persistence in searching for a friend who did not want to be found especially if your life is in danger.  I wish the main character had been Officer Natalia Flores (I liked her). In addition to frequent mentions of jiggy jiggy, the book contains foul language.  I was disappointed that I was left with unanswered questions at the end.  I wish there had been a better wrap up of the various storylines.  There were also inconsistencies.  Lauren’s life is in danger, so she makes sure to lock doors and windows.  She even tells Officer Flores when she is going off to visit her aunt.  But then she goes off jogging alone at night or walking across campus on her own in the dark.  While I enjoy Edith Maxwell’s other cozy mysteries, Speaking of Murder was a miss for me.  Speaking of Murder has an intriguing mystery with an unaccounted for chum, a slain student, a poached pooch, a blazing boat shop, a dubious department head, and a persistent professor.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first in a series featuring Lauren Rosseau, a linguist professor at a small college in a New England town.   She stumbles into a murder investigation when she finds one of her students, murdered. To complicate the picture, she had a one night stand with the student earlier. And to further complicate that, she has a boyfriend but he is serious about the relationship and Lauren is undecided. This sets up the conflicts that will ensue as Lauren tries to solve the mystery and figure out her personal life.

What I liked about the book:
1. Interesting premise for the start of a new series, a linguist. It will be interesting to see how this skill is woven into mysteries in the future.
2. The world of academia is always interesting, especially when set in a quaint old town.
3. The mystery was fast paced and it kept the story moving.  Always a reason to keep turning the pages.

What I was not so fond of:
I'm not sure about the main character. Her judgment seems pretty impaired with the decisions she makes in her personal life. Sleeping with a student? Big no no, even if he is older. I will reserve judgement and see what I think in the next book.

Thank you to the publisher Beyond the Page Publishing for providing me with this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Let me start out by saying that if you're expecting a cozy or a historical fiction book that is typical of Edith Maxwell.this book isn't it. This book has a murder, drug abuse, child abuse, alcoholism and bigotry. Personally, I loved the book. This is a fast paced, well written mystery that kept me intrigued. I wasn't crazy about the main character Lauren, but I did enjoy the female detective Natalia.
Was this review helpful?
Interestingly flawed characters make up the cast of this intriguing mystery to draw you in and keep you turning pages. Lauren, the main character, is a professor of linguistics with an intelligent older student who is striving to make a difference in his community when his life is cut short and she is left wondering who did it and why. At the same time her best friend is spiraling out of control and her boyfriend is growing impatient with her inability to commit. In short, her life is a hot mess and she is trying to dig her way through it to make sense of it all why trying to figure out why someone might also want her to shut up or die. I was gripped by the story and read it in one sitting so I am definitely eager to read more of Lauren's story in future books as it appears that is going to be a part of a series. The characters are realistic with strengths and weaknesses that draw you in and help you connect with them so I definitely want to read more about them.
Was this review helpful?
Speaking of Murder by Edith Maxwell is a republication of an earlier work and very different than her more current works. It can hardly be described as a cozy mystery as it is full of drugs, kidnapping, child abuse, alcoholism, and of course, murder. It is as well written as her more current works, however with a very diverse and interesting cast of characters starting with Dr. Lauren Rousseau, a linguistics professor, who is on the waning side of 35 and very commitment phobic, almost to the point of losing the man she loves. She has traveled the world and reaped all its benefits in many ways. She is loving and industrious, has recently received tenure, and is the member of a small, but tight knit family locally. 

Lauren's student and friend, Jamal, is shot one night at the university. Lauren finds him propped up against a tree and is heartbroken. She really doesn't intend to investigate; she just falls into it with everything else that is going wrong. She and her boyfriend, Zac, wander the streets, walking her dog, seeing a house that calls to her. Upon entering through and unlocked door, they find nothing suspicious and move on. A few days later, she enters again, to find her friend, Elise, on the floor, near death. This time there is more evidence of people spending time here, as well as Elise. Heroin. She had no idea. This is an amazing book, well written and timely. Maxwell is a very talented writer and this book proves it. What an interesting read! I recommend it!

I was invited to read a free ARC of Speaking of Murder by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own. #netgalley #speakingofmurder
Was this review helpful?
Engaging mystery. Protagonist is quite the experienced world traveler. Lots of languages sprinkled throughout. Some heavy-duty themes. It kept me turning the pages.
Was this review helpful?
This book starts out with Lauren Rousseau, linguistics professor at a small college in Massachusetts. Lauren is pulled into a murder mystery, when one of her students, someone that she had a one night stand with, is murdered. She begins to wonder if perhaps his thesis was the reason behind his death.The mystery further develops when a coworker/friend disappears, her department head is acting oddly, her dog Wulu is stolen and a local boathouse ends up burning to the ground. I felt that this was a well crafted murder mystery, with well-developed characters and an excellent plot.

That being said, I found myself disliking and not connecting with the main character. It was extremely unprofessional for her to have a fling with a student she currently instructs, especially when having a boyfriend. I did not like her reaction to her boyfriend's confession regarding a past trauma in his childhood. I felt myself drawn more to the female detective than the lead character herself.

I did, however, really enjoy the book and definitely recommend it. Perhaps Lauren Russo will grow on me in book two.

I would like to thank Edith Maxwell, Beyond The Page Publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The main characters is a Professor of Linguistics with a rather unpleasant head of department but a good bunch of students. She's also sleeping with her best student although the boyfriend seems unaware of this. The student is murdered. She feels that his thesis on language and children of colour might have led to the murder - he was quite out-spoken on the subject.  She dives into a rather dark underbelly of a small-minded small town America. Added to this mix is a drug-ridden friend, and a bizarre family. I'm not sure that her being a Quaker adds anything to the story, to me it rather suggests a very confused and mixed up person, and one who is not especially sympathetic. I've enjoyed the author's other, historical, stories with her Quaker midwife Maddie Day but bringing her writing to the present-day just didn't work for me.. Thanks to NetGalley and Beyond the Page Publishing for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I'm glad that this is getting republished so I can discover this well done mystery.

Lauren's best student is murdered and she quickly becomes a target herself. This small town has quite the dark underbelly.

The author was very brave to introduce Lauren as cheating on her boyfriend with her college student. I shouldn't like her but I do. She tries her best and keeps calling the police when she discovers something or is in danger. Learning about the Quaker religion added to her character. 

The mystery is interesting because there are so many people surrounding the victim who are guilty of heinous crimes.

I'm eager to read the next book in the series and hope that more will be written.

This is based on a copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Lauren Rousseau is a linguistics professor at Agawam College in Massachusetts.  In the opening scene, she is in bed with Jamal Carter, a mature student she is supervising.  Jamal is trying to turn his life around but his academic career is in jeopardy when department chair Alexis Kensington plans to renounce his fellowship.   Jamal's undergraduate thesis topic was an ambitious one that Alexis refused to approve.  A few days later, Lauren finds Jamal shot dead on the campus grounds.

Meanwhile, Lauren is also preoccupied with the erratic behaviour of her best friend Elise.  After finding Elise unconscious from a drug overdose in an abandoned house, Lauren tries to help her but Elise runs off after discharging herself from the hospital.  Lauren is also waffling about taking the next steps in her relationship with her video reporter boyfriend Zac.

Several weeks go by without the police making much headway into solving Jamal's murder.  Lauren wonders if Jamal's desire to help young people is sincere.  Lauren is also determined to learn the identity of a man who was recently seen with both Jamal and Elise.

Things come to a tense climax when Lauren gets a call for help from Elise and she decides to save her without backup.  Lauren's curiosity and nosiness gets her in more trouble when she visits an elderly woman's home looking for answers.

This is a solid, traditional mystery with a loyal, feisty protagonist and I am glad that this series has been re-issued with a new publisher.

I received an eARC from Netgalley and Beyond the Page Publishing with no requirements for a review.  I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fascinating mystery and a debut mystery by cozy author Edith Maxwell.  I am a big fan of the author's other series so i was thrilled to review this for review. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own.  This debut mystery captured me from the start to the last page. 

Right away I liked the main charcter Lauren who is brave and savvy.  Hooray for portraying our protagonist  well !  She is also not without flaws which makes her so endearing to readers. Lauren is also a Quaker which is a nice aspect of this book .    Lauren is a talented linguistics professor at a small  New England college.  One of her students has written a research paper on black children and language.  The paper was rejected by the head of the department.  When the student  is brutally  murdered   Lauren is sure his paper is tied somehow to his death.  The suspense grows as the dark sides of society are exposed and threaten Lauren.

 Lauren is also  working out a relationship with a freelance videographer, who wants more of a committed relationship she is not sure she is ready for with him.  She values her career and her freedom . She has a longtime friend Elise who has a ongoing  drug problem  she feels compelled to help her with as a good friend. In the midst of trying to solve her student's murder she finds herself soon in danger from nefarious types who may want her dead. 

I so enjoyed reading this new series. It has drama, tension and a great well crafted sleuth . I read it from beginning to end unable to put it down.  Very well done to the author.
Was this review helpful?
I couldn't get past the squicky feeling the main character Lauren gave me. A tenured professor, the first glimpse we have of her is of sleeping with a student, who later dies. She also treats her boyfriend (whom she's seeing all through the book, no break or anything to explain her randomly sleeping with someone else) rather horribly through the book, and she's one to talk, isn't she? Lauren is an all-around unpleasant person. Speaking of murder, it's basic, certainly not entertaining or interesting enough to get over the fact that Lauren is a terrible protagonist. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book was darker than the books I usually read by Edith Maxwell but then I saw that it was originally written under her pseudonym. As with her other books (including her Maddie Day series), I quite enjoyed this one. Set in New England, Lauren is college professor who doesn't necessarily always make good life choices. When one of her favorite students is murdered, Lauren decides to find out who killed him. Twisty and compelling.
Was this review helpful?
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

The story starts out tense and continues to build on every page.

Lauren is a professor, a world traveler,  a commitment phobe and loyal friend.  She has a pretty good life.

Until she sleeps with a student.
Until she allows her boyfriend to feel second to everything else in life.
Until her student is murdered.
Until her best friend disappears.
Until she meddles in police business.

A fast paced plot, 

Characters who are compelling but have room to grow and develop.

I look forward to the next book.
Was this review helpful?