Member Reviews

Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for gifting me a digital ARC of this debut mystery by Roz Noonan. All opinions expressed in this review are my own - 4 stars!

Alice Pepper is a librarian in a small Oregon town, still trying to recover financially from her divorce. She's thankful for good friends and family, who enjoy putting together puzzles with her at the kitchen table. But when her good friend Ruby is a suspect in her husband's murder, Alice knows that she has to figure out who actually killed Ruby's husband.

I'm not usually a cozy mystery fan, but this one was fun and intriguing. The mystery was complex and had plenty of suspects that kept me guessing. I liked the fact that Alice was older, relatable, and did not back down. Plus she was always there for her friends. This is the start of a series, and I'll be anxious to read more from this group of amateur sleuths!

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Puzzle Me a Murder by Roz Noonan is the debut of An Alice Pepper Lonely Hearts and Puzzle Club Mysteries (that’s a mouthful). I was drawn to this series because, like Alice, I have a penchant for puzzles. Alice Pepper is a woman in her mid-sixties, a librarian, and has a knack for solving puzzles. I did not find Alice and the rest of the cast to be likeable (I found most of them to be irritating). The story is heavy on the dialogue which leads to repetitive details. One person learns something, they then must tell another, and so on. The pacing was languid. I wish it had been peppier. The whodunit had me rolling my eyes often (I gave myself a headache). Alice’s friend, Ruby, is a prime suspect (of course), so Alice and her friends set out to prove her innocence. They trample all over the crime scene (I can see the guilty party getting off scot-free thanks to them) and have access to information that they should not (Alice’s granddaughter, Madison is a police officer). It was unrealistic. Alice’s other granddaughter lives in her basement and acts like a teenager instead of an adult. I did feel that mystical elements were not needed (there was enough going on). Puzzle Me a Murder is a story that I struggled to finish. Puzzle Me a Murder is an upbeat tale with mystification, murder, mayhem, family, and accommodating mates.

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I had fun in reading this cozy mystery, I hope it's going to be a series because I liked the characters and the solid mystery
A more extensive review will follow
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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A fun and clever cosy mystery, Puzzle Me a Murder starts with a bang and then develops into a more complex and sinister crime. I enjoyed the way the mystery was constructed in this book. The growing complexity of the case felt natural - there are no leaps from moment to moment that can sometimes occur. And I liked that with each development the suspect pool grew larger, even asking the reader to reevaluate assumptions about characters in the book.

And with a cosy, the main characters need to be well written and engaging. I like the main characters, Alice, Violet, and Ruby. I'm not sure I love them as characters yet. There was something about them that didn't feel completely genuine. With the setup of them all being in the same house for much of this book, it reminded me a lot of The Golden Girls, and when reading the dialogue I couldn't help but here the voices of the actors from the TV show in my head. Not that I'm complaining - I love The Golden Girls. And the comparisons in character behaviour for me didn't stop there. Alice reminded me of the character Dorothy. Ruby reminded me of Blanche. And Violet reminded me of Rose. Not in their physical descriptions, but in their behaviour. Again, not complaining, since I loved the TV show. I just found it interesting that I could see many similarities.

But the one let down for me in this book is that more attention to police procedure should have been taken. It didn't ruin the mystery for me but there's probably a line that shouldn't be crossed, even in a cosy, such as the protagonists being able to invade crime scenes. It was explained away in the book that the local police rarely handle murder, but local police would still know how to preserve a crime scene.

Still, this looks to be the beginning of an enjoyable series. It ticks off all the core components that a first book should - introduce the main characters, introduce a small set of support characters, introduce the setting, hook the reader in with a clever mystery, add many cosy elements.

Link to video review will be added later.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

In Puzzle Me a Murder, Roz Noonan crafts a delightful and engaging cozy mystery set in the charming town of West Hazel, Oregon. The story revolves around Alice Pepper, a librarian with a knack for solving puzzles, who finds herself embroiled in a real-life murder mystery.

Alice Pepper is a character that readers will instantly connect with. Empathetic and resourceful, Alice’s life takes an unexpected turn when her friend Ruby Milliner is accused of murdering her husband, George Byrd. George, the city comptroller, was found dead under suspicious circumstances, and the evidence seems to point towards Ruby. However, Alice knows her friend is innocent and sets out to uncover the truth.

Noonan’s writing is witty and engaging, drawing readers into the small-town dynamics and the intricate web of secrets that surround George’s death. The author skillfully balances humor and suspense, making the book a page-turner from start to finish. The supporting characters, including the members of the Alice Pepper Lonely Hearts and Puzzle Club, add depth and charm to the story, making it a truly enjoyable read.

The plot is well-paced, with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing. Noonan’s attention to detail and her ability to create a vivid setting make West Hazel come alive on the pages. The mystery itself is cleverly constructed, with clues scattered throughout the narrative, allowing readers to piece together the puzzle along with Alice.

One of the standout aspects of Puzzle Me a Murder is its exploration of friendship and community. Alice’s determination to clear Ruby’s name and her unwavering support for her friends highlight the importance of loyalty and trust. The book touches on themes of resilience and starting over, as Alice navigates her own personal challenges while solving the mystery.

Puzzle Me a Murder is a delightful addition to the cozy mystery genre. Roz Noonan has created a memorable protagonist in Alice Pepper and a captivating story that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. If you enjoy a good mystery with a touch of humor and heart, this book is definitely worth a read.

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A nice start to a new series that sees Alice and Ruby childhood BFFs now in their 60s come together to solve puzzles and....murder, Ruby's husband George is- and as it turns out was-the classic cozy victim, a local government official who is almost universally disliked. Unfortunately Ruby is the prime suspect when he's murdered but she didn't do it and Alice agrees. Madison,, Alice's granddaughter who is on the police force, violates procedure by sharing information with her but cozy readers know that this happens a lot in the genre (not a good thing but it is what it is). As this is the first in the series, there are some subplots that seems to go nowhere which I expect will be picked up later and the characters will benefit from more flesh on their bones in the future. That said it was a good read with mature characters and puzzles. Thanks to netgalley got the ARC. Looking forward to the next one.

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First time reading this author I however wasn't able to feel a connection to any of the characters. The mystery kept me guessing

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Delicious Characters…
Alice Pepper, local librarian, puzzler and now sometime amateur sleuth, has trouble on her hands when her best friend’s husband is bludgeoned to death at home. Determined to help Ruby, Alice begins to dig. A delightful cosy mystery with a delicious cast of characters that veritably leap from the page, a propulsive plot peppered with humour and a well imaged and atmospheric small town setting. The next instalment will be wholly anticipated.

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situational-humor, twins, Oregon, local-law-enforcement, new-series, first-in-series, friends, friendship, family, family-dynamics, amateur-sleuth, librarian, senior-sleuths, infidelity, murder, investigations, cozy-fiction, verbal-humor*****

A totally fun cozy murder mystery with nods to the more serious detailed sort. This is the kind that is a real stressbuster after a technically detailed day or frustrating week. There's the twin granddaughters who are polar opposites in the reality spectrum, the loose lips regarding the investigation, and just Alice herself. This story is great tongue-in-cheek fun and I totally enjoyed it!
I requested and received a free temporary EARC from Kensington Publishing | Kensington Cozies via NetGalley. Thank you!
#AlicePepperLonelyHeartsAndPuzzleClubMysteriesBk1

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This was an absolutely great first entry!
Alice Pepper didn’t expect to be working at this point in her life. But yet here she is, divorced, still working, and struggling to stay afloat. But the one thing she has is more valuable than anything, that’s her group of long time BFFs. The women who are always there for her and vice versa. There’s nothing that a good bottle of wine and natter can’t solve.

When one of the gang, Ruby, it’s suspected in her husband‘s murder, Alice decides that a murder really isn’t much different than solving a puzzle, but she has an act for. Solving a puzzle doesn’t mean the person behind the puzzle will come after her next. Can Alice clear Ruby? More importantly, can Alice survive the process of clearing Ruby’s name?

I absolutely love this the view entry in this new cozy mystery series. Loved. It! I really enjoy Alice as a character, and her networker friends are a great addition and complement to the protagonist. This story moved at a good pace and kept my attention the entire time. I will be back for more in this series.

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this wonderful book. This book is about Alice and Ruby, two women in their prime, who are solving a murder. Alice is a librarian in the small town of West Hazel, Oregon and Rose is her best friend whose husband was found murdered. Alice has decided to help her friend Rose and her granddaughter Officer Madison Denham to solve the case. I loved these wonderful characters and look forward to their next book.

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Alice Pepper is divorced, financially limited, estranged from her only daughter, and pushing seventy, but she enjoys her life. With dear friends and family, a satisfying job as a librarian, and a passion for puzzles, she has a good time. Then the violent death of a close friend's husband turns everything upside down. Alice, together with her merry band of female friends and relatives, delves into local politics and juicy secrets -- but will she be able to solve the murder before the killer silences her?

The characters are fun and likeable, the story is fast-paced but gentle, if not entirely plausible, and the book is an enjoyable introduction to what should turn out to be a great series.

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It's crazy how a murder mystery can wind up being a warm, fuzzy story about women and friendship. Roz Noonan's character, Alice, is someone I'd love to call a friend and neighbor. All the women in this story are so lovely, and I enjoyed being in their circle for a fast-paced read.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book, which will be published on July 23.

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Alice Pepper, a lady of a certain age, had hoped to be retired by now, but unfortunately a divorce, mortgage, and redundancy threats mean that's not happening any time soon. What has happened is murder, a best friend under suspicion, and a desperate need to help. It's not something Alice has got any experience of but that shouldn't matter, should it?

Starting a new cosy series has the potential to be a little risky and sadly I found this storyline with its unprofessional approach to crime scene protocols and easy access to confidential information unrealistic. The apparently empathetic Alice, her family and friends, weren't, for me, likeable at all and I struggled to finish this.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Kensington Publishing, but the opinions expressed are my own. This, unfortunately, isn't a book I can recommend.

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I knew it....but I also didn't expect that!

Puzzle Me a Murder by Roz Noonan is a cozy mystery you do not want to miss.: Our main character is Alice, a librarian with a knack for puzzles. although Alice enjoys puzzles, I don't think she ever imagined she would have to unpuzzle a murder but here we are. The story starts with us finding out that Ruby, Alice's best friend, caught her husband, George, cheating on her right before he was murdered. Ruby of course is the primary suspect, but that doesn't last long. Alices started her investigation to prove her friend's innocence but continued because things just got a little bit more juicy. The more Alice dug around the more she learned about her best friend's late husband- and let me tell you he was not a saint. It was a fun story to read, filled with twists and turns. I have to say it was obvious who the killer was, however, the details were next level.

A few things that rubbed me the wrong way were that Alice was very flippant with sharing information with, well everyone. I mean come on it's a small town, maybe keep it on the down low that you're investigating a murder. I also wasn't a fan of the fact that Alice's granddaughter, who is an officer on the case, shared so much information with her grandmother. There were a few typos that were in the copy but they didn't take away from the book.

Overall it was a great read and I'm looking forward to reading more by Roz Noonan.


Thank you to Roz Noonan, Kensington and NetGalley for the digital ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

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Engaging and entertaining, a good cozy mystery. I question some of the background/research = most libraries are not under the control of the town mayor, but are independent tax entities with their own board; incorporating in Delaware does not provide tax benefits; etc Definitely could have used better editing.

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I really enjoyed the idea of this book, it had everything that I was looking for in this. It had that Golden Girls meets puzzles perfectly, it had a strong story going on and thought the overall feel worked. The characters were everything that I was hoping for and thought everyone worked well overall. Roz Noonan has a great writing style and look forward to more.

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This was a nice fun cozy mystery with a solid inter generational group of friends. I had fun reading it, even though there were outlandish things, like the police letting a whole group into an active crime scene. But fun to read!

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I really enjoy thrillers! So fun to read along and guess theories.
It was a good puzzle. I enjoyed the backstories too

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"I thought this was really well written and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I think it will find readers at our library, so we will definitely be purchasing for the collection.

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