Cover Image: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder

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Member Reviews

The fifth entry in this series is just as good as the previous four and I can't get enough of it.  From the misfits to the high strung pups, what's not to love when it's wrapped up in a solid whodunit?
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I found myself compelled to finish this book while, quite frankly, not knowing initially if it was because I wanted to know "who dun it" or get away from Charlotte. I didn't dislike her but found her obsessions and compulsion to go against everyone else's advice both admirable and annoying. In the end, I decided I'd like her, albeit in small doses. Jack, the love interest, summarizes Charlotte well when he tells her she has a "tendency to charge right in, no matter what the risks and try to make everything right." 

The plot itself is intriguing, the life long effect bullying can have on the victims.In this case it leads to multiple murders. Toss in some twisted personalities and it's no wonder chief victim, 911 operator Mona Pringle, begins to doubt her own sanity. Charlotte is a good friend and wants to support her. Now, if she just knew where Mona was. 

There are plenty of twists and turns, not to mention red herrings along the way, as well as hints on organizing your home and life. Charlotte is a professional organizer and we get to see her in action, a nice break from the building tension of the plot. Charlotte, of course, is in the middle of it all. I haven't read the previous books in the series so didn't feel like I knew the other regular characters as well as I might, but overall it made no difference. "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder" works as a stand alone.

I won't detail the plot other to say Charlotte seems both compulsive and impulsive and basically ignores her friends' cautions that she needs to back off and let the police handle the investigation. This is a common theme in cozy mysteries, as is the main character shrugging of warnings and plowing ahead. Given Charlotte's personality and behavioral tendencies, I'm not sure she could stop even if she wanted to, to be honest, a compulsion that makes even the police and 911 operator reluctant to lend much weight to her ideas and theories. That leads to an especially frightening, tense ending.

I applaud the author for dealing with the potential long term harm of bullying, in this case during the characters' high school years. Charlotte seems to have slipped through relatively untouched, perhaps, as some hint, because of her mother's position (a story obviously told in previous books), but feels guilt now because she feels partly responsible for not doing everything she might have been able to do to stop it and protect the more vulnerable. I think it was that sense of responsibility, the caring about others and their pasts, that made me like Charlotte in the end, even while withing she could just chill out a bit. 

For an intriguing, thoughtful read, "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder" is a winner. I'm tempted, I must admit, to skip backward and read the books in the series leading up to this one. I don't always feel this way when I jump into a series in the middle, so that is high praise. Excellent writing, a plot that moved along, and, oh, did I mention there are dogs? Therapy dogs, in fact, that visit an Alzheimer's wing with Charlotte. See, I told you there were reasons I liked her in the end. 

Thank you @NetGalley and ‎ Beyond the Page for the ARC

#bullying, #bully, #NetGallery, #BusyWoman'sGuideToMurder, #Maffini, #organizer, #HighSchool,#compulsions, #murder, #CozyMystery,,#sleuth, #BeyondThePage
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I am so glad I reread this series. I can appreciate Charlotte and her organization skills more at this time in my life than I did 10 years ago. I have matured enough to appreciate that her bossiness is misunderstood; she’s trying to be helpful (or at least this is what I tell myself when I feel like I’m being too bossy). I loved learning about the training required with therapy dogs and how they are used in nursing facilities. The mystery was not my favorite of all the books but it was still very well written, a solid mystery with plenty of suspects and lots of suspense. And even though I had read this before, I genuinely did not remember who the killer was and was solving this one right along with Charlotte. Sad this is the last one but hopefully with this rerelease, more books will be added to the series
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It's been interesting reading this series again.  This one had lots of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end.  I've enjoyed this updated edition.
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Charlotte Adams is back and nosier than ever! In book five of the Professional Organizer series, we travel back a bit to Charlotte's high school days and we are introduced to the mean girl click that made the lives of some of the less popular girls miserable. As members of the mean girl click start getting murdered one by one, Charlotte will do just about anything to clear her friend Mona's name and bring a killer to justice. 

Fans of Marie Kondo or the Home Edit will love this series with its bits of organizing wisdom. I love this series with its various subplots that keep things interesting in addition to a well-plotted murder mystery. We get a love interest, some mischievous pups, and a group of girls that have been friends since high school that still help one another out. It makes for one very entertaining read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Beyond the Page for the ARC of this book in exchange for my review.
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I really enjoyed this book.  While reading it, I felt like I was visiting old friends ie. Charlotte, Jack, Sally , Margaret and Pepper.  Again, Charlotte became involved in a murder investigation, this time with its roots in the past.  I highly recommend this book to other mystery readers.
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I feel like I read that the author is going to potentially write more books for this series and I really hope that’s true! I’m not at all ready for this to be over.

This whole series is what the cozy mystery genre is all about. Great characters, a setting that feels like home, and plot twists that leave you wide-eyed.
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The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder by Mary Jane Maffini but this is #5 in a series, I do think it stands alone though as it was the first I read and I didn't feel lost. 
Charlotte is professional organiser and an ametuer sleuth. In this book she is dragged into a mystery by her former classmate Mona, who is a local 911 operator. It turns out Mona's high school tormenter is back in town and and Mona is having difficulty dealing with the news. In fact she tells Charlotte that she wishes she could see her bully splattered against her windshield.  Then a woman who looks like the bully is killed in a hit and run. Charlotte begins to wonder if Mona could be behind the crime. She also starts to worry that the other mean girls in the high school clique may be targeted. 
I didn't love how Charlotte ignores advice and also her own common sense to investigate and out herself in harm's way, so much so that the police don't believe her when she is on the right track. I know this is not unusual in cozies, but I felt this cozy was more violent and dangerous than others I've read. I think there were 5 murders in 2 weeks and at least 4 attempted murders. friends' cautions that she needs to back off and let the police handle the investigation. The book itself was definitely darker in tone, although it did have a lot of comic relief in the writing.
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The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder is the first book I have read by Mary Jane Maffini but this is #5 in a series.

Charlotte is a woman after my own heart, she is an organiser and that is one of the things that drew me to this book. There's even organising tips and a recipe in this book together with a lovely cover showing the two sweet dogs that Charlotte owns.

It appears as well as being a professional organiser Charlotte is somewhat of a sleuth. The book begins with Charlotte receiving a call from 911 - yes receiving.! Turns out that one of her old school friends Mona who is now a 911 operator has spotted a mean girl from their school days and proclaims that she wants to murder her. When someone who looks like the school bully turns up dead Charlotte begins to wonder if Mona has made good on her threat.

This book stands alone, but I felt I did miss out on how she is perceived in her home town by what has gone before in the previous stories. The characters took a little warming to also, because they were all new to me. Of course I enjoyed the organising parts of the book and there is even a little romance thrown into the mix too.

I liked this book but I didn't love it, so I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.
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This book had so much promise; however I didn't really find the characters overly likeable. It was an OK read. It also included a lemon bars recipe and home organizing tips. 

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my first foray into this delightful series but I really enjoyed myself through out the entire book. Twists and turns all over the place, miss-directions, a type of cat and mouse game, oh my! I related to Charlotte's character a lot. Like her, I have OCD and it's a pain in the butt and also a joy to live with at the same time. The compulsion part of it is the part that is the pain in the butt. The joy of having everything just so and in it's rightful place is the joy.

I felt like the whole time I was reading this that hey, someone out there finally gets me. Charlotte through out the entire book is only trying to be helpful. She's not trying to tell the police by her actions or words that she is better than they are or that they don't know their job. It's just that Mona is a friend and she feels obligated to help because she was drawn into the situation by Mona's calls and because of her history with the mean girls from school back in the day. 

I enjoyed this mystery a lot. In all honesty, I couldn't really feel any sympathy for the mean girl victims. Now, the others, yes, absolutely. However, I do believe that what you sow is what you reap and well, I am not sure if those women had finally grown up and matured or not. Yes, I very much believe in second chances. However, I also know that those that thrive on abuse and control aren't necessarily going to wake up one day and go 'oh yeah, I think I will be an actual human being today instead of being a heartless jerk,' And I think that this book did a great job of showing all of that too. Second chances, belief in human kindness, and the ability to finally be able to let something or someone go. 

This is my first book by this author. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the plot and all of the characters. I especially loved the dogs. I loved the ending. It made me say wow! Now who would've expected that? Fantastic book. I highly recommend it. I loved all of the organization tips as well and I plan to try a few of them out. I will be definitely reading more of these books. They are absolutely wonderful. 

Thanks to NetGalley and to the author and publishers for the ability to read this fantastic book. All opinions are my own and completely honest.
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First, I love the cover of this book. It is what drew me to the book. 

Second, I enjoyed getting to know these characters, but it took me some time to actually like the characters. I think I tolerated them rather than connecting to or liking them. The story had some good humor. I did like the setting.

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder is the first book I have read by Mary Jane Maffini. I will check out other titles by this author. 

#TheBusyWomansGuidetoMurder #NetGalley
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I liked, but did not love, THE BUSY WOMAN"S GUIDE TO MURDER. Admittedly I have not read the other books in the series, but I had a slightly difficult time connecting to Charlotte and it's important in any story, but perhaps especially in a cozy mystery series, to feel connected to the narrator. 

The storyline with Mona, the 911 operator, also fell somewhat flat in the sense that so much revolved around a bullying situation in high school, which keeps taking the reader out of the present day.

These issues aside, the writing is strong and I enjoyed the life/organizing tips. The dogs are cute (if high-strung) and the romance angle seems sweet and realistic.

I do recommend this series to fans of cozy mysteries. And I suspect it's best to begin with the first book in the series.

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and on Goodreads:
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The mean girls are back in town.  Mona, the local 911 operator was bullied relentlessly by them and she is not happy to have them return.  She fantasizes to Charlotte, our protagonist, that she would like to see the face of the queen bee of mean girls splattered against her windshield.  When a woman bearing a resemblance to her is killed in a hit and run, Charlotte begins to worry about Mona and as another of the gang is killed she begins to investigate-she can't help herself!

This is a solid mystery and I will admit I was completely flummoxed at how it played out-but it made sense and didn't come out of left field.   I have not read other books in the series and I didn't feel as it hampered my enjoyment of the book.   

I received an ARC from the publisher via Net Galley but the opinion expressed is my own.
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I really like this series and especially the narrative voice. "Kicked in the keister by Karma." "I'm told I can be just the tiniest bit bossy. I'm trying to fight that. Sometimes, I lose." And my favorite: "White powder from an air bag doesn't flatter anyone. Let's just say that." Charlotte is just snarky enough to make me laugh without being super annoying.

I seem to be reading a lot of cozies right now where mean girl cliques play a big role, and that's fine, I guess. It makes for some good drama. But the drama I can't take is the whole major storyline with Mona. It's tiresome and unconvincing, so it's unfortunate that so much of the plot momentum depends on it. I just feel like it's carried on way too deeply and too long.

Otherwise, a great story.

Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Even if it's not the best in this series I enjoyed this story.
I think that Charlotte is a bit underdeveloped in this novel and there are too many repetitions.
On the other side the mystery is solid and kept me guessing.
I think it's recommended to anyone who read the rest of the series.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Another thrilling cozy from Mary Jane Maffini. 

This time Charlotte is being called BY Mona the 911 operator instead of Charlotte calling her with emergency calls. We already know that Charlotte and her close friends all went to school together. What I hadn’t realized is that Mona also went to the same school. 

When a high school mean girl comes back to town, it brings up painful memories for many of her victims. Mona and several others would not be at all sad to learn that this girl and her clique all died horrible deaths. And then people start dying. And who do you suppose the suspect is?

Charlotte has her work cut out for her with this one. People are reluctant to relive the past if they don’t need to. I was completely wrong about the perpetrator! Great book.

The ending with the relationship with Jack was not totally unexpected, but I wish it had been handled a little differently.
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Charlotte Adams is a professional organizer.  She also is an amateur sleuth.  Charlotte’s friend, Mona, calls to tell her that the meanest of the mean girls from high school is back in town.  Mona also confesses that she wanted to run her down and “see that face splattered against my windshield”.  As the mean girl group is run over and killed one by one, Charlotte needs to prove that Mona isn’t responsible for the murders in spite of her declaration.  This is the fifth book in the series.  I haven’t read the others but was given an ARC of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder in exchange for an honest review.  The book was what I call a cozy mystery.  You don’t need to read the other 4 in order to read this book.  It was a good 4-star book.
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In The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, Charlotte Adams helps out a woman whose daughter recently died. When Charlotte receives a call from 911 operator, Mona Pringle, she is amazed as Charlotte is normally the one needing Mona's help. Charlotte and Mona both went to St Jude's school and Mona was subjected to a fair degree of bitchiness and bullying from Serena Redding who is back in Woodbridge. The other girls involved back then along with Serena were collectively known as the mean girls and then one of them is found dead...

My fifth instalment in Mary Jane Maffini's Charlotte Adams Professional Organizer Mystery series was just as good as the first four. Professional organiser Charlotte is a marvellous protagonist whom I find to be compassionate and smart. The book is well-crafted, rich in humour, swift-paced and thoroughly entertaining. The mystery is very engaging and I was kept guessing until later on in this lively tale. Very highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Beyond the Page Publishing via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is the fifth book in the Charlotte Adams Organizer Mystery series and it does not disappoint. I really enjoy being back with Charlotte, Jack and the rest of their friends. I like seeing the characters develop and the relationships grow. As much as Charlotte wants to stay away from murder and stay out of police business, she cannot resist helping a friend in need. She is bold and will do anything and everything she can for her friends. When a bully from high school, Serena, returns to town and wants to make amends with those she wronged in the past, people begin to get hurt. A victim of hers, Mona, is pushed over the edge and all the evidence points to her. Charlotte cannot stand by and watch a friend being set up for a crime she did not commit. How many people will get hurt before the truth is revealed? Will Charlotte or any of her group of friends end up as one of the victims? Is there a slight hint of romance in the air? I like the little organizing tips at the beginning of each chapter and the recipe at the end of the book. I am looking forward to finding out more about Charlotte and her friends.
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