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A Beginner’s Guide to Murder

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Member Reviews

This one wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I guess I was hoping for a little bit of humor or a more lighthearted read. This one was all suspense, but to me wasn’t even that suspenseful. It missed its mark with me but would be great for those who like a slow burn and seeing some grandmas rise up and take action! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Harper 360, and Rosalind Stopps for providing me with this gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.
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This ended up completely different then I envisioned when I started this book. It did not disappoint. As a woman who supports other woman, this has me sucked in from the beginning. Everyone's story can look a little different and we all have seasons of dark days. Kept me turning the pages racing to find out what happened next!
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Not my favorite. 

I loved the characters and the overall writing of the book. But I felt the mystery/murder part fell a bit flat. I haven't read a mystery type of book in a bit so maybe I am just not in the mood for one, so I am not going to add any details since I feel like I am overreacting a bit!

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In A Beginner's Guide to Murder, we meet three older, single women -- acquaintances from a nearby Pilates class-- having coffee together after class.  Meg is a childless widow of a controlling husband.  Daphne and Grace were never married but Grace had a child who passed away in Jamaica  before she could bring her to live in England.  Daphne is Asian.  She has a story that unfolds.  Their social time is suddenly disrupted when a young woman, Nina, obviously running from something bursts in.  She begs them for help and, as we've actually already learned, the three women are soon plotting to hire a hitman to kill a man who is dangerous to Nina.

Stopps then takes us on a nonlinear journey that brings us to a deep understanding of how Nina, a brilliant and troubled young woman who came up through foster care and institutional living ended up in such trouble and how other invisible people:  three elderly women, an ex-con or two and homeless people go about finding justice for Nina through unconventional thinking and the willingness to use violence.  A Beginner's Guide to Murder is generally dark, told through multiple narrators (Meg, Grace, Daphne and Nina), with great development of the characters and their relationships, the people they draw into the madness and some extremely evil people who need to be dealt with.  Each of the four women are very, very real to us by the end.  We understand why the three older women come together in such an unexpected way.  There is lots of excitement/action.  This is a psychological and action packed thriller.  Good book.
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This is my second book by this author and I think she's just not my cup of tea. This book dragged on for me and i couldn't wait for it to be over. Meg, Daphne, and Grace had just met and were starting to get to know each other over coffee when a young, scared woman ran into the coffee shop. All three woman felt as if they needed to help her. She introduced herself as Nina and slowly started to warm up and tell her story. They knew they had to do something to protect her, but what would they have to do? And how?
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This book was an unexpected highly enjoyable read that kept me on my toes. Following along with the brave older ladies as they work to save and protect a young woman they just met was pretty inspiring. The ending was not expected and oh how I enjoyed this. I will be checking out the authors other books.
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Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles into their lives. She’s clearly running from someone, so the three women decide individually and corporately to hide her from a suspicious-looking man who resembles a toad. 
Nina is indeed in danger. The women must decide if they will continue to harbor her or let her fend for themselves. By supporting her, they also put themselves in danger. And they expose their deepest secrets, too. They may also resort to murder. 
I really like the mature lady angle. Older women indeed are often underestimated but have mad skills. These women are also willing to confront their pasts and heal from trauma. The author also shares tidbits of wisdom that made me think.
I liked the cleverness and laugh-out-loud one-liners, too.
The storyline gets a little far-fetched in places. And the writing isn't always engaging. 
But overall, I enjoyed this story and wish the three friends would get together for more adventures in the future.
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As we were approaching Spooky Season, I thought A Beginner's Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps could be a fun way to get into the spirit. Three elderly women are having coffee in a shop when a teenage girl comes running in and begging for help. In that moment they are transformed from lonely old ladies to heroines in the making. Set in southeast London, Meg, Daphne, and Grace must find a way to save Nina from a terrible fate and stop a very bad man.

Told from each of their four perspectives, we get to know these women and the tragedies that have affected their lives. I liked the main characters, but some of the secondary characters were frustrating. It is assumed that old ladies won't know anything about murder, but the bumbling about seemed excessive. Stopps did a good job keeping the tension ramping up, but then the resolution was too quick and without much of a satisfying ending, almost as if she had run out of pages. A good ending could have made all the difference with this book, but as it stands I have to say it was only okay.
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A Beginner's Guide to Murder is quirky and charming, but definitely not a "cozy" mystery. There are some dark themes about human exploitation running through the story, but it never loses its warm heart.

Meg, Grace, and Daphne are three 70-something women who are tentatively bonding at a coffee shop after leaving their exercise class together. Suddenly a young woman, a girl really, bursts in asking for their help. While she hides in the coffee shop bathroom, a vicious looking man they name "the toad" enters the shop looking for the girl. As if planned, all the women deny seeing the girl and try to convince the man he is looking in the wrong place. After his departure they sneak out the door to Meg's nearby house, all three committed to helping this girl who has wandered in their midst.

The reader gradually gets filled in on Nina, the girl, and the three older lady's back stories through flashbacks. The women all decide they want to help Nina escape from the toad, and that they are willing to go to extremes to do so. In an interesting twist, one of the women has a link to someone who knows how to hire a contract killer.

The toad is determined to have his girl back, and he doesn't see three old women as very threatening adversaries. As the women face scary challenges in their quest to free Nina, they bond with each other. All three have a need for this growing friendship, and it is one of the softer moments in the book to see this friendship bloom.

I enjoyed the book highlighting older women as the heroes in the book, and showing that just because you're old, you are still capable of doing great things. Especially when the world discounts your worth and value.
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ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“A Beginner’s Guide to Murder” is a mystery that follows the story of three elderly women, Meg, Daphne, and Grace, as they embark on a journey to save a young woman, Nina.  While conversing and drinking a cup of tea in a café, Meg, Daphne, and Grace find their day interrupted when a teenaged girl runs in, desperate for help.  The women step up, and when a man bursts in looking for Nina, the women cover for the girl, lying to the man until he leaves.  Once he is gone, Nina tells the women part of the reason why she is on the run.  Immediately, the women decide they must protect Nina at all costs, even if it means they may have to figure out how to murder someone.  

Told from alternating points of view and with flashbacks revealing the characters’ backstories, this book had the potential to be so much better than it actually was.  The description of the book pulled me in, but I found myself bored and frustrated with the story early on.  The book is overly detailed and drawn out, and the writing is unfortunately quite juvenile.  I found myself often rolling my eyes and constantly checking how much was left in the book so I could just get it over with.  While the book attempts to tell a dark tale of human trafficking, abuse, and potential murder with twist of dark humor, it just falls flat.  The humor is lacking.  The characters aren’t really likeable.  The story is not engaging.  The actions of the characters were ridiculous and exasperating to say the least.  I very rarely give out one-star reviews, but with this book I honestly couldn’t give it a better review, although I know I’m in the small minority group with this opinion.

Overall, this book was a flop for me.  Poor writing, an overly drawn-out story arc, and idiotic characters combine to make this book unenjoyable to say the least.  Regrettably, I just can’t recommend this book at all.
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This was a very enjoyable read. It was deeper than I expected from the description - it sounded kind of like a Thursday Murder Club with a group of mature women who try to help solve a crime. But it was so much deeper than that and the relationships that the characters built with the young girl that needs rescuing and how they come together was so enjoyable and more than I expected. I enjoyed that the chapters has alternating voices of the ladies - every so often the backstory of the characters slowed the book down a bit - but overall this was a book that kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out what would happen. If you are looking for a fun thriller (with a few trigger warnings so check those out!) but with a deeper message and characters - this would be the book for you! 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher - HQ - and the author for this ARC in exchange for my honest review! :)
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of A Beginner's Guide to Murder.

It seems the newest literary trend are elderly main characters who are taken for granted because they're old, but in reality, they kick ass.

Grace, Meg and Daphne are recent friends bonding over Pilates when a distraught young woman named Nina stumbles into the cafe where the three women are enjoying coffee and conversation.

When the women discover Nina is in need of assistance, they plan a dastardly deed; murder the abusive man.

The premise was darker than I expected, not that I minded but the triggers are incredibly painful including sexual trafficking, abuse, and rape.

I wanted to like this more, I appreciated the POVs from all four men, adding depth to their character and providing necessary development of their individual characters, but the fact all three women have been brutalized and marginalized by men left a sour taste in my mouth.

The POVs began to sound repetitive, especially from Meg's viewpoint, who referred to her deceased husband, often, referencing his indifference to her abilities and aptitude as a woman as well as his barbed insults. Obviously, all three women have issues and could benefit from counseling.

The writing was okay, but narrative was drawn out and too long; for example, repeatedly calling Nina's abuser 'toad man' as opposed to using his real name; the recruitment of the 'assassins' and Dez, who sounded and acted like bumbling fools, as well as a couple of homeless people. Seriously.

I'm not sure if the inclusion of these characters was meant to sound inclusive and add diversity to the cast of characters, but they came off as silly and just more filler, padding the word count and further drawing out the narrative even more.

I found myself losing interest as the story progressed and things kept going wrong.

An open mind and the ability to suspend disbelief is necessary to keep reading because a part of me couldn't believe a sexual trafficker would bother with three old women, money or no money. You're wasting time and money just by meeting with these old ladies?

I didn't believe it.

The ending was abrupt, not a smooth transition into the aftermath of what the women had to go through to obtain Nina's freedom.

I'm not sure if this was intentional or the author setting up for another book in the series.

I wished I had liked this more but it wasn't for me.
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I will admit I wasn't sure what to expect with after all three 70-year-old women and one teenage girl.  

The story starts off with the back story of the 3 and what made these women want to protect the teenage girl and well plan a murder.  Rosalind Stopps uses a lot of current questions ask by many older generations which is when did we become invisible to the world? 

A Beginner Guide to Murder is a dark murder mystery that will have readers laughing and falling in love with three little old ladies. Yes just the right twist to keep readers hooked.

Thank you to Netgalley for advance copy of Rosalind Stopps A Beginners Guide to Murder
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I really thought that this book might be really interesting from the blurb on the back. A group of three old ladies who decide to kill someone (for a very good cause). But I had a really hard time getting into it. The ladies were interesting in their own right, had very interesting lives that had not been very happy and dealt in large degree with women's issues. In addition to the young woman, Nina, they were trying to protect from "Toad" the sex trafficker from whom she escaped. And thrown in was her backstory as well, but with so much backstory and secrets from each other it all moved at a glacial pace. I was not eager to pick up the book each time I had to put it down and while I did finish it. It really wasn't that interesting. 

I would, however, like to thank #NetGalley and Harpers 360 for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I wasn't sure what to think going in, as this is a relatively new genre for me. I ended up liking it a lot. It has a lot of charm, a great plot, great characters with wonderful personalities. The book held my interest and attention and at some parts was very hard to put down.
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Three lonely, 70 year old ladies ~ Meg, Grace and Daphne work together to help a young girl, Nina, hide from a dangerous man.

This was a darker read than I thought it would be ~ human trafficking, rape, physical abuse

I love that it's told in each of the four characters perspectives, but this was just okay for me. I actually skimmed some of the backstory of the ladies lives. Maybe that was supposed to be a way to toughen up these old ladies to show us what they have lived through, but meh, I wasn't feeling it. I did enjoy how it was all wrapped up as it stepped up the suspense towards the end. One thing is for sure, Nina made a good choice by seeking out the help from these ladies. Never underestimate the power and wit of the older generation because looks can be deceiving.

I do have Rosalind's other book in my queue, so I'm hoping that one is more up my alley.
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Grace was the first one to suggest killing him. But they were all thinking it. The angry, toad faced man was bent on evil intent. Anyone could tell. He wasn't related to that girl and he wanted to hurt her. Probably had hurt her. Who knew what hell she'd escaped from. 
When Nina told her story, it was "as though a very ancient and sad person had taken over and spoken through her mouth."
So the three elderly ladies decided immediately to help this girl, to save her from him. And then, after talking to her, after hearing her story and how he'd sexually trafficked her, about how he allowed her to be abused, they decided getting her out wasn't enough. There were other girls too. He needed to be stopped. But even if all the girls were rescued, he would find more. So three old women in a coffee shop make a pact. First, to save Nina from him so no one could ever hurt her like that again. Could never abuse her again. Second, Grace, Daphne and Megan decided to have the toad man killed. And to save the other girls from him. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Murder is a thrilling emotional ride that evokes a deep desire for justice to be served in the ending of an evil man and his wicked exploitation of young girls. It may be triggering for some readers who have suffered abuse or sex trafficking. But its ending may also be cathartic for some.  

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Net Galley. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of the publisher or its affiliates or the author.
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When I first read the blurb about this book I was so excited. There are not a lot of books with older women let alone 3 and that opening sentence was fire. Unfortunately, that is kind of where it ended for me. I read 25% of this book and then just couldn’t keep going. While I enjoyed the characters the constant inner dialogue with nothing really happening got to be too much for me. I do enjoy a slow burn but this just did not do it for me.
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This book was – surprisingly – both charming and touching, along with being a suspenseful caper novel. Three older women – Grace, Daphne and Meg – are sitting in a London coffee shop together when a young, frightened girl lurches in.  She heads for the restroom, and not long after a suspicious man comes in, claiming she’s his daughter.  They tell him they’ve seen nothing and watch him leave, then they immediately scoot out the back, taking the young woman with them.

As the title indicates, these women are beginners in the art of murder, but their target is immediately obvious.  What isn’t obvious are the personalities and characteristics of the women, and the author goes back in time to flesh out each character’s backstory, so the reader can see what shaped each one.  While the three hadn’t really known each other well before the coffee shop incident, they are united in their desire to save the young girl, Nina.  The real heartbreaker of the book is Nina’s story.

The reader is taken back in time where we see Nina being raised in a “care home” – in the US I think this would be a foster home – and the difficulties as well as the connections she has with some of the others in the home with her.  Unfortunately, she meets another young woman when she’s on the way to the library one day.   Reading the book, you want to reach through the pages and tell Nina to stay far, far away from this other young woman, but the story is already inevitable.

When Nina is again snatched by the man in the coffee shop, after experiencing a moment of safety with the women, the three redouble their efforts to save her.  It becomes unsurprisingly clear that Nina is basically a prisoner of this man. He pimps her out relentlessly, moving houses frequently.  It’s unclear just how the women will save her but they find an ally, Des, a friend of Daphne’s.  He’s actually been in prison so they are hoping he can offer advice or maybe kill this man for them.

It becomes clear Des was neither a good or committed criminal, but he does offer some insight: the man who has Nina is basically after money, and he knows some people who might be able to help with the murder bit of the plan. What follows is basically a suspenseful caper plot, as the three women work uncomfortably with Des’s acquaintances to offer a ransom and reclaim Nina.

What’s really unexpected about this book is how touching it is.  Grace, Daphne and Meg all have their own heartbreaking backstories, and as one of the women says to Nina at one point, “There’s a bit of trouble in every life.”  The fact that they understand trouble makes them want to help.  While their efforts sometimes seem almost silly, they are so dead serious in purpose that each step they take gets them closer to Nina.

The story is wonderful and so are these wonderful women.  I am honored to have spent some time with them, and (not really a spoiler) delighted by their ultimate success.  The author fills in the cracks and crevices of her story with wonderful details of London and different characters that, even if only encountered for a chapter, are so memorable they stick with you.  The specific details in her story and the sweetness of the characters makes her book special.
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Thanks to NetGalley and all for an ARC copy of this book.
I really enjoyed the writing style and the character development.  I liked the relationships developed throughout the story.  I just had a hard time with some aspects of the plot development.
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